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Revised Edition 


English translation edited by R. McL. Wilson 




Revised Edition 
of the Collection initiated by 

Edgar Hennecke 

edited by 

Wilhelm Schneemelcher 

English translation edited by 

R. McL. Wilson 


Writings Relating to the Apostles 
Apocalypses and Related Subjects 

James Clarke & Co 
YV 7TT/ r Westminster 



Published in Great Britain by 

James Clarke & Co. Ltd 
P.O. Box 60 
Cambridge CB1 2NT 

Published in the United States by 
Westminster John Knox Press 
Louisville, Kentucky 40202-1396 

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data 
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library 
ISBN 0-2276-7917-2 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-PiMication Data 
A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress 
ISBN 0-664-22722-8 

Copyright O J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck) TUbingen, 1989 
English Translation Copyright O James Clarke A Co. Ltd. 1992 

Paperback edition published by 
Westminster John Knox Press, 2003 

Printed in the United Stales of America 
04 05 06 07 08 09 10 II 12 — 10 98765432 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or tram mi tied in any form or by aay 
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storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher 

Table of Contents 





Introduction ( Wilhelm Schneemelcher ) 1 

Xm. The Picture of the Apostle in early Christian Tradition 

( ! Wolfgang A. Bienert) 

1. The concept of the Apostle in primitive Christianity 5 

2. The Apostles as bearers of the tradition and mediators of revelation 14 

3. ‘Apostolic’ as a norm of orthodoxy 25 

XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

Introduction ( Wilhelm Schneemelcher) 28 

1. The Kerygma Petri ( Wilhelm Schneemelcher) 34 

2. The Epistle to the Laodiceans ( Wilhelm Schneemelcher) 42 

3. The Correspondence between Seneca and Paul ( Cornelia Romer) 46 

4. The Pseudo-Titus Epistle ( Aurelio de Santos Otero) 53 

XV. Second and Third-Century Acts of Apostles 

Introduction ( Wilhelm Schneemelcher and Knut Schdferdiek) 75 

1. The Acts of Andrew ( Jean-Marc Prieur and Wilhelm Schneemelcher) 101 

2. The Acts of John ( Knut Schdferdiek) 152 

Appendix (Ruairi 6 hUiginn) 210 

3. The Acts of Paul ( Wilhelm Schneemelcher and Rodolphe Kasser) 213 

4. The Acts of Peter ( Wilhelm Schneemelcher) 271 

5. The Acts of Thomas ( Han J.W. Drijvers) 322 

XVI. The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles 

C Hans-Martin Schenke) 412 

XVII. Later Acts of Apostles 

( Aurelio de Santos Otero) 426 

XVIII. The Pseudo-Clementines 

{Johannes Irmscher and Georg Strecker) 

Introduction {Georg Strecker) 483 

1. Introductory Writings {Georg Strecker) 493 

2. The Clement Romance {Johannes Irmscher) 504 

3. Kerygmata Petrou {Georg Strecker) 531 


Introduction ( Philipp Vielhauer t and Georg Strecker) 542 

XIX. Apocalyptic in Early Christianity 

Introduction {Philipp Vielhauer t and Georg Strecker) 569 

1. The Ascension of Isaiah (C. Detlef G. Muller) 603 

2. Apocalypse of Peter (C. Detlef G. Muller) 620 

XX. Apocalyptic Prophecy in the Early Church 

Introduction (Wilhelm Schneemelcher) 639 

1. The Fifth and Sixth Books of Esra (Hugo Duensing t 

and Aurelio de Santos Otero) 641 

2. Christian Sibyllines ( Ursula Treu) 652 

3. The Book of Elchasai (Johannes Irmscher) 685 

XXI. Later Apocalypses 

Introduction (Wilhelm Schneemelcher) 691 

1. The Coptic Gnostic Apocalypse of Paul ( Wolf-Peter Funk) 695 

2. The Coptic Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter (Andreas Werner) 700 

3. Apocalypse of Paul (Hugo Duensing t and Aurelio de Santos Otero) 712 

4. Apocalypse of Thomas ( Aurelio de Santos Otero) 748 

Index of Biblical Passages 753 

Index of Names and Subjects 757 


The present Volume Q completes the revised edition of the collection Neutestamentliche 
Apokryphen in deutscher Obtrsetzung, founded in 1904 by Edgar Hennecke. As with 
the first volume of the collection (NTApo 5 1,1987,* 1990; ET1991), this volume too 
had to be thoroughly revised and brought up to date with the present state of research. 
In the process, some texts could be taken over from the previous edition after revision 
and correction. The introductions have beat largely written afresh. Those texts from 
the Nag Hammadi library which from their literary character belong in this collection 
have been included. For good counsel in this matter I thank H.M. Schenke. 

Particular store has been attached to the bibliographies. They are intended to put 
the reader in a position to follow up the problems which specially interest him, beyond 
die necessarily compressed presentations in such a collection. Here the reader will 
certainly be struck by many a difference in the assessment of the texts. These 
differences (e.g. on the question how the apocryphal Acts are to be judged) have been 
quite deliberately accepted. The editor neither could nor wished to prescribe to the 
contributors any uniform line. In the present state of research that simply was not 

In this volume too I have had the advantage of help from many sides. I would 
mention only R. Kassel. HJ. Klimkeit, W.O. Lebek, R. Mericelbach and G. Wirth. 
A. de Santos Otero has once again given much good advice. K. Schiferdiek was for 
this volume also a true and reliable helper. G.Ahn assisted with the editing and proof- 
correction, and also prepared the index. To all those named, but above all to all the 
contributors who placed their work at my disposal, I would express my hearty thanks. 
Finally, a word of thanks is due also to the publisher, Herr G. Siebeck, and his assistants 
(especially Herr R. Pflug) for their valuable collaboration. 

Bad Honnef, 31 May 1989 

Wilhelm Schneetnelcher 

Preface to the English Edition 

Over the pest thirty years or so ‘Hennedce-Schneemelcher’ has become a standard 
tool for those working in the field of the NT Apocrypha. Much has happened, 
however, in these three decades, and the time was ripe for a revision and up-dating, 
to bring it abreast of recent research. The two Goman volumes have now been 
completely revised, and it is appropriate that the English edition also should be up¬ 
dated to bring it into line. 

The policy adopted in this book is that which governed the first volume, and indeed 
right back to the two volumes of the previous English edition: to present the wort of 
our German colleagues in an English version, checked and corrected to make it in 
every way possible an adequate tool for the English-speaking reader. The several 
introductions are straight translations from the German; the texts have been checked 
against the originals in Latin, Greek or Coptic, to ensure that they are truly English 
translations and not merely versions at second or third hand. 

The extent of die revision varies: some parts are entirely new, in some cases by new 
contributors, and these have been translated from scratch. In other cases, particularly 
where the older texts are concerned, it has been possible to retain much from the earlier 
edition, and here due acknowledgement must be paid to my collaborators in that 
earlier volume. Professors Ernest Best and G. C. Stead. Dr David Hill, and the late Dr 
George Ogg. The whole has however been very thoroughly checked and revised, and 
the translation editor must now accept full responsibility. 

The production of such a book as this involves the work of many hands, not only 
the editors and contributors and the translators but also the staff of the publishers, who 
often are not accorded the credit which they deserve. I can name only two, with whom 
I have been in more direct contact: Mias Jane K. Hodgart, the copy editor, and Miss 
Sarah Brierley, the desk editor who saw this volume through the press. To them and 
to their colleagues the reader and the translation editor are much indebted. 

R. McL. Wilson 


For abbreviations of the titles of journals or series, the lists of Schwertner (Theologische 
Realenzyklopddie, AbkOrzungsverzeichnis, 1976) and RGG 3 (1957) have generally 
been used. For the texts from Nag Hammadi reference may be made to the list of 
abbreviations in The Nag Hammadi Library in English (General Editor James M. 
Robinson), 1988, pp. xiii-xiv. A few abbreviations frequently used are adduced 

Aa Acta apostolorum apocrypha I, ed. Lipsius, 1891; II 1 and 2, ed. 

Bonnet, 1898 and 1903 (reprint 1959) 

AGG Apokryphe Apostelgeschichlen (= Apocryphal Acts) 

AnalBoll Analecta Bollandiana 

ANRW Aufstieg und Niedergang der Rdmischen Welt 

Apa Apocalypses Apocryphae, ed. C. Tiscbendorf, 1866 

BHG Bibliotheca hagiographies graeca, M957 

BHL Bibliotheca hagiographies latina, M949 

BHO Bibliotheca hagiographies orientalis, 1910 

CChrSL Corpus Christianorum, Series latina, 1953fT. 

CChrSG Corpus Christianorum, Series graeca, 1976ff. 

CChrSA Corpus Christianorum. Series Apocryphonun, 1983ff. 

CSCO Corpus scriptorum Christianorum orientalium 

CSEL Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum 

DACL Dictionnaire <f archiologie chritienne et de liturgie 

Ea Evangelia apocrypha, ed. C. Tiscbendorf, *1876 

Erbetta Mario Erbctta, Gli Apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento. I-1I1, 1966-1981 

FS Festschrift 

GCS Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhundene 


GKT Grundkurs Theologie, Stuttgart 1989ff. 

GTA Gbttinger Theologische Arbeiten 1975ff. 

Graf G. Graf, Geschichte der christlichen arabischen Literatur. 1-5,1944- 


Hamack, Lit. gesch. 

Adolf Hamack, Geschichte der oltchristlichen Literatur bis Eusebius, 

James MJL James, The Apocryphal New Testament, 1924 (reprint 1955) 
KIT Kleine Texte filr Voriesungen und Obungen 

Lipsius, Apostelgesch. 

RA. Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten undApostellegenden, 
2 vols., 1883f.; supplement 1890 

McNamara Martin McNamara, The Apocrypha in the Irish Church, Dublin 1975 

B. Writings Relating to the Apostles 

Michaelis Die Apocryphen Schriften zum Neuen Testament, Ubers. und ert. von 
W. Michaelis, 2 1958 

Moraldi Luigi Morakli, Apochfi del Nuovo Testamento, 2 vols., 1971 
NHC Nag Hammadi Codex 

NHLE The Nag Hammadi Library in English, ed. James M. Robinson, 3rded., 

Leiden 1988 

NHS Nag Hammadi Studies 

NTApo 1 Neutestamentliche Apokryphen in deutscher Ubersetzung, ed. Edgar 
Hennecke, 1904 

NTApo 2 id., 2nd edition 1924 

NTApo* id., 3rd edition, ed. W. Schneemelcher, 2 vols. 1959/64 (reprint M968; 
ET 1963. 1965; reprinted 1973, 1974) 

NTApoHandb Handbuch zu den NeutestamentlichenApokryphen, ed. Edgar Hennecke, 

PG Patrologiae curs us completus, accurante J.P. Migne, Series Graeca 

PL id.. Series Latina 

PO Patrologia oriental is, Paris 

PTS Patristische Texte und Studios, 1964ff. 

PWRE Realencyclopddie der classischen Altertumswissenschqften. Neue 

Bearb. (Pauly-Wissowa) 

RE Realenzyclopddie fur protestantische Theologie und Kire he, 1 1896ff. 

RGG* Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ’1956ff. 

de Santos Aurelio de Santos Otero (ed.), Los Evangelios Apdcrifos (BAC 148), 
de Santos. Uberlieferung 

Aurelio de Santos Otero, Die handschriftliche Uberlieferung der 
altslavischen Apokryphen I (PTS 20), 1978; U (PTS 23), 1981 
TDNT Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, tr. G. W. Bromiley (ET 

of Theologische W&rterbuch zum Neuen Testament, 1933flf.) 

TRE Theologische Realenzyklopddie, 1976ff. 

TU Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristiichen Literatur 

Vielhauer, Lit. gesch. 

Philipp Vielhauer, Geschichte der urchristlichen Literatur, *1981 
VigChr Vigiliae Christianae. 1947ff. 



Wilhelm Schneemelcher 

The texts brought together in Part B of the present collection do not by any means 
constitute a uniform literary Gattung. They are rather very diverse works, which 
however because of their concern with one or more apostles may be included under 
the very general heading of 'apostolic'. 

Certainly the apostles to some extent also play an important role in the 'gospel 
literature* assembled in volume L, as guarantors of the true tradition, which is intended 
to be attested as old and genuine by the fact that an apostle is named as its authority. 
But these texts in volume I relate almost exclusively to the life, work and preaching 
(before and after the resurrection) of Jesus. The texts which here follow have the 
apostles as the subject of their presentation in a different way. Here the boundaries 
cannot always be sharply drawn. This is clear, for example, with the Coptic ‘Acts of 
Peter and the Twelve Apostles' (see below, pp. 412ff.). But on the whole the division 
of the material over the two sections is probably justified. 

To the sphere of the 'apostolic' (in the sense of this distinction) there belong in the 
first place some texts which are described as apostolic pseudepigrapha. These are 
writings which were published under the name of an apostle. 

Then those works are presented in which one or more apostles take the central 
place. The five great acts of apostles from the 2nd and 3rd centuries, which are the most 
important representatives of this group, portray the career and the fate of the apostles. 
Unking up with the ancient romance (and frequently also drawing upon other literary 
traditions of antiquity); here it can be seen from the speeches inserted that they are not 
merely'fictional prose narratives', but are intended to serve for proclamation, or better 
for missionary propaganda, as well as for foe edification of foe reader. The Pseudo- 
Clementine literature also belongs in this context. The texts then exercised an 
influence in manifold revisions in foe lata acts of apostles, which however in part 
already represent the transition to the hagiographtcal literature of late antiquity and the 
Middle Ages. 

This whole very diverse literature can only be understood when it is set in its proper 
place in foe development of Church history. Thus an account of foe way in which foe 


B. Writings relating to the Apostles 

concepts ‘apostle’ and ‘apostolic’ were shaped and developed, and what significance 
they look on in the course erf the 2nd century (see below, pp. 5ff.), is the necessary 
presupposition for an appropriate interpretation of the texts. For pseudapostolic 
literature in its diverse forms could indeed only come into being after a definite 
opinion had been formed as to what was meant by ‘apostle’ and ‘apostolic’. It is 
therefore not surprising that this literature came into vogue in the 2nd century, thus 
in the period in which - as W.A. Bienert shows below (pp. 2Sff.) - the idea of the 
‘apostolic norm’ was developing. In this period, in which the solid structures of later 
centuries still did not exist, the efforts of the Church to create for itself some security 
in faith and life by appeal to a witness from the beginning, who still stood in close 
association with Jesus, finally led to the writings in which old traditions were 
frequently combined with newer tendencies. This holds for all groups in Christendom, 
whether they must now be described as ‘catholic' or as ‘gnostic’. The boundaries in 
the 2nd century are in any case not so clear as a later period was to think. 

The intentions which brought about this literature were certainly not uniform. 
Thus die ‘Teaching of the Lord for the Gentiles through the Twelve Apostles’ (the so- 
called Didache) is concerned for conduct of life and church order. In the Pastoral 
Epistles the aims of 'Church law’ emerge still more clearly, but combined with 
demarcation over against ‘heretics’. This anuhereticaJ tendency occurs to some extent 
also in works which owe their origin to an increased interest in the person and work 
of individual apostles (so for example in the five great acts of apostles), but there it 
is probably not the chief motive. 

Luke already in his Acts took up several legends about the apostles which 
correspond to a concern of this tort (Acts 5:15; 19:1 If ). However, he did not regard 
the popular narratives about the miraculous powers of the apostles as the main theme, 
but used them sporadically, to underline the edifying character of his work. There was 
a danger here, that the apostles might become miracle-workers such as the environ¬ 
ment of early Christianity also knew, a danger which in later works was further 

In the 2nd century, as already indicated, people in the different Christian groups 
appealed to the apostles as guarantors for the correct doctrine and preaching. With this 
is bound up the attempt to report something more about the life of the apostles. Here 
many factors may have played a part: the diffusion of Christianity, the conflict over 
the correct doctrine, the rise of die veneration of martyrs, etc. It was probably 
important that ideas about the ‘apostolic norm’ required, as it were, a sub-structure 
which would not only set forth the ‘apostolic doctrine' but also give to the figures of 
the apostles a concrete form. 

In the process, not only were literary models taken over from the surrounding 
world, but non-Christian ideas also flowed in. Thus we can demonstrate from the 
apocryphal acts of apostles not only the use of pre-Christian and non-Christian 
Gattungen, but also the taking-over of the image of the Btfio; &W|e. Here the apostles 
become figures which often correspond to ancient phenomena. 

This is not surprising when we consider that in the 2nd century the Church had to 
begin to come to terms with the world in which it was growing up. In this process 
influences from outside also penetrated into the Church’s thinking. We can thus set 
the apocryphal acts in place in the manifold process of the interaction of antiquity and 



Christianity (as we can on another level with the Apologists of the 2nd century). 

The relation of this literature to the canon cannot be described in a single sentence, 
but must be clarified for each individual document separately. Thus the Letter to the 
I jrtdirMtM (see below, pp. 42ff.) is nothing but a compilation of quotations from 
Pauline letters, hence pre-supposes the canon and is intended to fill an alleged gap in 
it The acts of apostles on the other hand are not shaped after the pattern cf the canonical 
Acts, even though knowledge of it cannot be excluded. 

With regard to this question it must be observed that the canon of the NT only 
developed in the course of the 2nd century (cf. voi. I, pp. ISff.), and that for a long 
time its limits were still uncertain. Also we can scarcely assume that all 
communities immediately possessed a complete exemplar of the NT; probably 
only separate writings, which were regarded as authoritative, woe available. 
Whether and to what extent Acts belonged to these is an open question. 

For our literature we may at any rate determine that for the most part it 
originated without any reference to a canon of die NT. Also we should probably 
not assume a wish to replace canonical writings. This does not exclude the 
possibility that the motive of supplementation played a role in several writings. 
Certainly more important, however, were the tendencies for the dissemination of 
certain opinions and doctrines, to some extent combined with the aims of 
entertainment and ‘edification’. Here people turned back to material from older 
tradition (local and personal legends) and made use of literary Gattungen from the 
surrounding world, in order to link the most diverse things in manifold ways with 
the names and figures of the apostles. Dogmatic, polemic and apologetic 
intentions were brought into the literary form appropriate to the ends in view, just 
as were projects of Church law or aims at edification and entertainment 

In connection with this literature we should probably also bear in mind that 
not only does it derive from different communities with distinct traditions, but also 
we can identify considerable differences with regard to spiritual and theological 
level. It is not a question of witnesses to an elevated theological reflection; the 
popular elements preponderate. This however gives to our literature its special 
importance: here the ‘apostolic norm' is not established in systematic or theologi¬ 
cal fashion, but the apostles, their life, their preaching and their death, are brought 
before the community in a comprehensible manner, be it that in the 
pseudepigraphical texts and in the speeches inserted into the narrative works the 
apostles themselves are made the spokesmen, or that their figures are delineated 
in a graphic and popular way. Thereby these works are in a certain fashion a 
parallel phenomenon - on another level indeed, but of considerable influence - to 
the theological development of the ‘apostle’ concept and the idea of the norm that 
belongs to it in the 2nd century. 

Reference has already been made to the fact that the texts have frequently 
taken up traditions which were alive in individual communities, worked them in, 
and probably also to some extent reshaped them. This however means that we 
cannot assess them in tlx same way as other literary works. The Sin im Leben is 
an important aspect not only for judgment about a work as a whole, but also for 
evaluation of the traditions worked up in it, and for many traditions this Sin im Leben 
is public worship or report by word of mouth. 


B. Writings relating to the Apostles 

This literature bears witness that, alongside the theological reflection which later 
led in the Church to the norm of the ‘apostolic’, there was also a broad tradition about 
the apoatks. nurtured also in special groups. Much of it was soon condemned as 
‘heretical* and ‘apocryphal’, and excluded from the use of the churches. But certain 
elements survived in modifications and reworkings of various kinds, and contributed 
to the consolidation of the ‘apostolic norm'. They are also still operative in the later 
hagiography of the ‘catholic Apostolic Church’. 


XHL The Picture of the ApostJe in Early Christian Tradition 

Wolfgang A. Bienert 

1. The concept of the apostle in primitive Christianity 

Literature (with special consideration of more recent works): K.H. Rengstorf, ait. dnooxoXo^, 
TDNT 1,407-447 (fundamental). H. von Campenhausen, ‘ Der urchristliche Apostelbegnff. 
in StTh 1.1947/48.96-130; id.. Kirchliches Ami und geistliche Vollmacht in den ersten drei 
Jahrhunderten (BHTh 14J.M963 (ET Ecclesiastical Authority and Spiritual Power. 1969); 
B. Rigaux. ‘Die “Zwftlf" in Geschichte und Kerygma’, in H. Ristow/K. Matthiae (eds.). Der 
historische Jesus and der kerygmatische Christas, M962, 468-486. G. Klein, Die zwdlf 
Apostel. Ursprung und Gehalt einerider (FRLANT77). 1961; W. Schmithals, Das kirchliche 
Apostelamt. Eine historische Untersuchung (FRLANT 79). 1961 (ET The Office of the 
Apostle, 1969); J. Rotoff, Apostolat - VerkOndigung - K irche, 1965; G. Schille, Die urchristliche 
Kollegialmission (AThANT48). 1967; S. Freync, The Twelve Disciples and Apostles,London 
1968; H. Kasting, Die Anfdnge der urchristlichen Mission (BEvTh 55). 1969; K. Kerteige. 
‘Die Funkdon der “ZwdlF im Markusevangeiium’, TThZ 78. 1969, 193-206; id.. ‘Das 
Apostelamt des Paulus, sein Ursprung und seine Bedeutung', BZ 14. 1970, 161-181; G. 
Schneider,‘Die zwttlf Apostel als“Zeugen‘“ (1970). in uL.Lukas, TheologederHeilsgeschichte 
(BBB 59). 1985.61-85; R. Schnackenburg, ‘Apostel vor und neben Paulus’ (1970), in id.. 
Schriften turn NT, 1971.338-358; G. Schmahl, Die Zwdlf im Markusevangeiium (TThSt 30), 
1974(Liu); F. Hahn, ‘Der Apostolat im Urchristentum’, KuD 20.1974,54-77; F. Agnew, ‘On 
the Origin of the Term Apostolos'. CBQ 38,1976,49-53; K. Kerteige (ed.). Das kirchliche 
Amt im NT (WdF439). 1977 (Lit.); J. A. Buhner, Der Gesandst und seinWegim4.E vangelium 
(WUNT U. 2). 1977; W. Trilling, ‘Zur Entatehung des Zwblferkrcises 1 . in DU Kirche des 
Anfangs (FS H. Schiirmann) (EThSt 38). 1978,201-222; J. Roloff. art ‘ Apostel/Apostolat/ 
ApostolizitXt I. Neues Testament 1 , TRE 3. 1978, 430-445 (Liu); D. Luhrmann, Das 
Markusevangeiium (HNT 3), 1987; K. Haacker, ‘Verwendung und Vermeidung des 
Apostelbegriffs im lukanischen Werk 1 . NT 30,1988,9-38. Cf. further the relevant articles 
in TBLNT, 2 vols.. *1977 and in EWNT, ed. H. Balz/G. Schneider, 3 vols. 1980-1983 - 
as well as W. Bauer-Aland. Wb. z. NT, ‘1988 and G.W.H. Lampe, A Patristic Greek 
Lexicon, 1961. 

The question of the primitive Christian apostle concept is closely connected with 
that of the origin of the Christian Church and the beginning of its offices and norms 
of faith; it thereby falls of necessity into that ‘dangerous thicket of reciprocally 
contradictory hypotheses’ which still surrounds the investigation of the history of 
primitive Christianity, ‘in which indeed a general orientation and isolated vistas are 


Xm. The Picture of the Apostle in early Christian Tradition 

possible, but any definite interpretation of the whole leads immediately into boundless 
controversies*. This remark by H. von Campenhausen (StTh 1.1947/48,96) has lost 
nothing of its fundamental significance even after forty years, especially since W. 
Schmithals even in 1961 wrote of the origin of the Church's apostolate (p. 12): ‘The 
debate over our problem is... still not approaching conclusion.’ Indeed, die solution 
he proposes, to derive the apostle concept from Jewish or Jewish Christian Gnosis (cf. 
p. 216), has met with almost unanimous rejection. Its basis in the sources is inadequate, 
and the argument therefore remains largely hypothetical. His book, however, has 
drawn attention to a field of problems which is none the less of central importance for 
the understanding of the early Christian picture of the apostle as a whole, namely the 
question erf its relation to Gnosis and Gnosticism. 

In our context it is not possible to give a critical evaluation of recent discussion of 
the early Christian apostle concept in detail. It can only be a matter of discussing the 
New Testament conceptual field in its historical context against the background of the 
results of recent research and naming the areas which are of significance for its 
understanding and that of the history of its influence, and which contribute to the 
outcome that what is ’apostolic' finally became the bask norm of Christian faith. Here 
it already deserves to be noticed that the adjective ’aposttrfk’fdnooToXuu^) does not 
occur at all in the New Testament, 1 while die substantive taukrcoXog appears 
relatively frequently in the New Testament literature, and that, in contrast to secular 
Greek, always with reference to persons. In the first place it describes quite generally 
an envoy, a messenger. Later it is said in Origen (3rd cent.): ‘Anyone who is sent by 
any person is an “apostle” of the one who sent him' (Comm. inJoh. 32.17). Its use for 
the procburners of a religious message appears to be a specifically Christian coinage. 
K. Haacker speaks in this connection of an ‘early Christian neologism’ (pp. 12f.), a 
reminting of the concept, which had become necessary, among other reasons, because 
comparable Greek terms like dyyEXog or had already in terms of content 

become set in other ways. It is st any rate beyond dispute that in Christian usage die 
term ’apostle’ took on a special stamp. And it is certainly no accident that - just like 
the terms fetxXqoia or tnbcrwonaq - it was not translated into Latin, but simply taken 
over. Nevertheless it is necessary to keep in view the wider linguistic and conceptual 
field in which it was originally at home. In addition it remains also to be noted that in 
the New Testament itself the apostle concept is variously interpreted, in Paul 
otherwise than, for example, in the Lucan writings (cf., e.g.. Gal. 1:1 and Acts 1:2 If.). 

1: Outside of biblical usage the word (JjiriaroXog has a wide-ranging and usually 
technical significance, e.g. ‘covering letter', ‘bill of lading’, ’passport’ or the like - 
often in connection with the language of shipping and navigation, where it can also 
describe a cargo ship or a naval expedition. Occasionally it is also applied to persons, 
for example to describe the commander of a fleet. Only rarely (kies it have the meaning 
’emissary’ (attested only at two places in Herodotus; cf. W. Bauer, WbNT s.v.). Only 
in a later period does it appear with this significance in papyri also (cf. F. Agnew), and 
here the meaning ’authorised agent' is latent, a use rooted in the ancient oriental law 
regarding messengers (cf. e.g. 1 Sam. 25:40f.; 2 Sam. 10: Iff.), according to which an 
emissary represents his principal with full authority. In correspondence with the bask 
rule: The agent (shaluach) is like die man himself (Berachoth 5.5) there later 


The concept of the Apostle in primitive Christianity 

developed out of this - in Rabbinic Judaism - the so-called * shaliach ’ institution 
(named after the Hebrew substantive to the passive participle of the verb shalach, 
which in Greek - e.g. in the Septuagint - is generally rendered by foiooT&Xeiv). The 
proximity to the New Testament apostle concept is not to be overlooked. However, 
the conviction that the Christian apostle concept goes back directly to the Jewish 
institution of the shaliach (Rengstorf el al.) has proved untenable. Two things above 
all tell against this assumption: a) as a designation for a particular office-bearer with 
an official commission, the tom shaliach is attested in Judaism only after the 
destruction of the Second Temple (after A.D. 70). Here it is in general a question of 
an agent authorised by the Great Sanhedrin, who had to carry out visitations or gather 
in collections. A direct influence on the early Christian apostle concept or upon Paul, 
who had a fundamental share in coining the term, is on this ground excluded, b) Over 
and above that, the shaliach as a rule is given a clearly delimited and temporally 
restricted commission by the institution which sends him. Chi die other hand, he has 
no divine commission for preaching or even for mission, which for the early Christian 
apostolaie and particularly for Paul is one of the characteristic attributes. Despite these 
differences, which become all the more clear the more precisely we inquire into the specific 
religious profile in each case, certain structural similarities still remain recognisable, e.g. 
the motif of authorisation and of personal representation, which points to common roots 
which have influenced Jewish and early Christian thought, probably more strongly than has 
often been assumed in research hitherto. Linguistically at any rate, shaliach is beyond doubt 
the equivalent of <5 ct6cjxoJjo^ 

These common roots lie in Old Testament ideas about emissaries and intermedi¬ 
aries. which are just as characteristic for the political and legal life of Israel as for the 
religious, and here above all for prophecy (cf. e.g. Is. 6:8). In the present context it is 
not possible to set this out in detail. What is important for our purpose is above all the 
linguistic bridge of the Septuagint, which made Hebrew and Aramaic thought 
accessible to the Greek, and recollection of the fact that it became the Bible of the early 
Christians, just as the Christians in many respects entered into the heritage of 
hellenistic Judaism. Unfortunately the adjectival noun AmSoroXog occurs in LXX 
only in a single passage, and indeed as a translation of the Hebrew shaluach (passive 
participle of shalach - 1 Kings 14:6). But it is worthy of note that the person 
‘commissioned' there, Ahijah, is a prophet, who with his statement to the queen of that 
time: ‘I come to you as a messenger charged with heavy tidings' - ‘gives expression 
to his inner-not his outward! - mission and authorisation from God’ (v. Campenhausen, 
StTh 1, p. 99). This evidence, however, only takes on importance from the fact that 
in LXX the verb duiooxtilexv appears at more than 700 places instead of the Hebrew 
shalach, 'and indeed predominantly in just such a way that it designates a formal 
commissioning with a message or some other task’ (v. Campenhausen, op. cit., 98). 
More recent investigations have now shown, on the foundation of K.H. Rengstorf’s 
article, that the shaliach concept in Judaism was by no means anchored in a juristic 
or institutional sense, but could also describe prophets like Elijah, Elisha, Ezekiel or 
even Moses (JA. Bilhner, 281-306, cf. kL in EWNT I, 342ff.), so that the usual 
separation between legal and prophetic commission (Schmithals, pp. 95f.; cf. 
Rengstorf, 420) cannot be sustained. But that the proximity between die Jewish 
shaliach and the Christian ‘apostle’ appears originally even closer than is 


XIII. The Picture of the Apostle in early Christian Tradition 

commonly assumed. It remains however for us to take account of the different 
linguistic area, which naturally contributed to the particular coming and to the 
delimitation of one against the other. 

2: Of the 80 examples in all for the apostle concept in the New Testament, 34 
in each case fall to the Pauline (including the Deutero-Paulines and S cases in the 
Pastorals) and to the Lucan writings. With that we can recognise the two - very 
distinct (see above, p. 6) - centres of gravity for definition of the concept. And it is 
certainly no accident that the abstract dnocnoXr) occurs only in these two bodies of 
documents, three times in Paul (1 Cor. 9:2; Gal. 2:8; Rom. 1:5) and once in Acts 1:25 

- in connection with the election of the apostle Matthias. To clarify things more 
precisely, but also to differentiate the early Christian picture of the apostle and its 
development, it is necessary to examine the normal usage of the term in the New 
Testament and at the same time to take into account the verbal manner of expression so 
important for the LXX. This is significant far the Gospels as a whole, but above all for the 
Gospel of John, in which the noun tbioototog occurs only once (as however also in Man.). 
Mark on the other hand contains two examples - not, as occasionally alleged, only one: Maik 
3:14 is in this respect, with D. Ltihrmann, ‘to be regarded as original* (HNT 3, p. 70). 

2.1: The earliest and at the same time the most nuanced general picture of the early 
Christian apostoiate is to be found in Paul. For the Deutero-Paulines and especially 
for the Pastorals, he is quite simply the ideal and epitome of the Christian apostoiate, 
and for them already possesses a normative significance within the Christian tradition 
(cf. 1 Tim. 2:7; 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:11-14). He himself, however, in his apostoiate sees 
himself exposed to a peculiar pressure for legitimation. He describes himself with 
perceptible emphasis as ‘apostle of Jesus Christ’ (2 Cor. 1:1), and stresses that he was 
called ‘not by men or through men. but by Jesus Christ and God* (Gal. 1:1). At the same 
time he comes to grips with opponents, whom he calls ‘ false apostles' (tpevdcutOoioXo^ 

- 2 Cor. 11:13) or even super-apostles’ ({wiepkiav dnoorokoi - 2 Cor. 11:5; 12:11) 
(cf. F. Hahn, p. 60). Everything points to the conclusion that the apostle concept was 
still not precisely defined in terms of content, but that Paul has taken it over from a 
tradition existing before him, especially since he himself once speaks of predecessors 
(d JtQO ipoO djioorokx - Gal. 1:17). Those intended in this connection are the 
apostles in Jerusalem and Cephas/Peter (Gal. 1:18f.), an evidently closed circle (F. 
Hahn, p. 58), in regard to which one instinctively thinks - in view of 1 Cor. 15:5 - of 
‘the Twelve' and in a wider sense also of James the Lord’s brother (cf. 1 Cor. 15:7). 

If we examine Paul’s usage more carefully, we can distinguish in it three levels of 
significance for the concept, which are however linked with one another and influence 
one another a) in a very general and non-specific sense Paul can for example describe 
Epaphroditus, the emissary of the community in Philippi, as an ‘apostle’ (Phil. 2:25), 
just as in 2 Cor. 8:23 he can speak of dnooxoXot £xxXtjouI»v. Hoe the basic meaning 
of the term - ‘emissary’, ‘messenger' - is still clearly recognisable, b) Beside this there 
is another, specifically Christian but likewise not precisely defined, apostle concept, 
which Paul has evidently taken over, fix it occurs also outside the Pauline corpus (e.g. 
Acts 14:4,14, where Paul and Barnabas are so named; cf. also Acts 2:2). This is used 
to describe preachers of the Gospel, who know themselves to be commissioned by the 


The concept of the Apostle in primitive Christianity 

Holy Spirit or the risen Lord and equipped with special gifts (cf. 1 Cor. 9:5), to work 
in his name • as missionaries - in the world. To these certainly belong the ‘ super- 
apostles’ so named by Paul, but ultimately also Paul himself, although for his part he 
repeatedly has to take issue with their spiritual claims. In a positive sense Paul 
mentions Andronicus and Junia 2 as his close kindred and fellow prisoners, ‘who 
are eminent among the apostles' (Rom. 16:7). With these ‘apostles', in terms of 
their self-understanding, it is a question of prophets called and sent by God, who 
speak and act by divine commission and with divine authority. They understand 
themselves as bearers of the prophetic Spirit promised for the last times (cf. Acts 
2 with Joel 3:1-5) and are part of the eschatological community of salvation 
(fcxxkryjta). What relationship these prophets had to the Jerusalem community, 
or originally even to the earthly Jesus, and how the formation of the apostle 
concept came about in this connection, we can no longer discern from our extant 
sources. It is however highly probable that the apostle concept in the sense of the 
early Christian missionary derives from Jewish-Christian circles and has its roots 
in these relationships. ’ In the further development we then come to the formation 
of the pair of concepts ‘apostles and prophets’, which is already found in Paul (1 
Cor. 12:28) but can be documented also elsewhere in the New Testament The 
letter to the Ephesians has s special fondness for it (cf. 2:20; 3:5; 4:11); but Luke 
11:49 is also interesting. Outside the New Testament the pair of concepts occurs 
at Did. 113-6, where it is a question of criteria for discrimination between true 
and false prophets. Here it is worthy of note that it is not ‘false apostle’ but ‘false 
prophet' (\pevtojiQo4>r|Tq£) that is chosen as the opposite of ‘apostle’. Apostle and 
prophet are here evidently understood as equivalent The phenomenon of itinerant 
Christian prophets can however be documented down to the 2nd century (cf. 
Celsus in Origen, c. Cels. VU 9). c) In so far as the reference to prophets does not 
relate to Old Testament figures (e.g. Lk. 11:49; cf. also Eph. 2:20), the pair of 
concepts ‘apostles and prophets', by making this distinction and giving prec¬ 
edence to the apostles, also points to that tendency in primitive Christianity which 
would restrict the apostles to the beginnings of the Church and to a particular 
circle of witnesses to the resurrection. Paul already encountered this tendency, and 
basically assented to it (cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-11), but with his understanding of himself 
as an apostle came nevertheless into conflict with it. In the struggle for the 
recognition of his apostolate - ultimately a singular one - the criteria at the same 
time emerge by which for him the apostles in the narrower sense are distinguished 
from all other groups in the Church. Here the most important criterion is not the 
commission to preach the Gospel among the nations and to found new commu¬ 
nities, but personal encounter with the risen Lord (cf. 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:8). That is, the 
apostle of Jesus Christ is first and above all a witness to the resurrection of Jesus from 
the dead The special precedence accorded to Cephas/Peter and ‘the Twelve’ (1 Cor. 
15:5) is evidently grounded in the fact that they were die first to bear witness to the 
resurrection of Jesus. But how can anyone who - like Paul - never met the earthly Jesus 
credibly bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus? On what basis is he to recognise that 
the risen Lord who reveals himself to him is no other than the crucified? Paul was 
conscious of the resultant problematic character of his apostolate, and therefore even 
describes himself as ‘the least among the apostles’ - not only because he had 


XH1. The Picture of the Apostle in early Christian Tradition 

previously persecuted the Church of God (1 Cor. 15:9). 

The apostolate in the narrower sense recalls the necessary connection of the Easter 
event with the Jesus community before Easter. For this reason Luke could not with 
consistency describe the Paul whom he admired and revered as an apostle in this sense 
(otherwise only in Acts 14:4,14). At any rate Paul had his authority for mission among 
the Gentiles (dxotnoXfj) confirmed by the Jerusalem apostles (Gal. 2:8; cf. Rom. 1:5). 
But for him that was not the basis for his apostleship. His authorisation and call to be 
an apostle he owed to God Himself (Gal. 1:1). But this was at the same time the basis 
for the peculiar freedom of his missionary activity, which gave a special Mature to the 
early Christian apostolate which he helped to shape, so that Paul, although he had not 
been a disciple of the earthly Jesus, could quite simply become for certain circles the 
apostle of Jesus Christ. This could later - as the example of Marcion shows - also lead 
to a narrowing-down of the apostle concept 

22: The bracketing together of the early Christian apostolate and the pre-Easter 
Jesus community finds its clearest expression in the notion of the twelve apostles, 
a combination of the apostle concept with 'the Twelve’. The two elements appear 
originally to have been independent; for Paul clearly distinguishes them horn one 
another (1 Cor. 15:5-7) and at the same time lets it be seen that not every witness to 
the resurrection is also an ‘apostle’. The formula 'the Twelve’ is for the rest a 
designation especially favoured by Mark for the narrower circle of the disciples of 
Jesus (cf. G. Schmahi), but also occurs in die other evangelists - not only the Synoptics, 
but also in John (Jn. 6:67-71) - and originally probably had its roots in the early 
community’s apocalyptic world of ideas (cf. Mt. 19:28/Lk. 22:28-30 from the Sayings 
source Q). 'This passage does indeed stand in the context of the Sayings source's 
polemic against Israel, but nevertheless contains the old motif that the righteous at the 
end of days will sit in judgment over the unrighteous; the twelve here thus represent 
that true Israel of die righteous' (D. UUumann, HNT 3, p. 71) in symbolic contrast to 
the twelve tribes of Israel, the ancient people of God (cf. also Rev. 21:14). The real 
historical background of the circle of the Twelve can no longer be discovered with any 
precision. When Paul travels to Jerusalem for the first time, to seek out ‘the apostles' 
(Gal. 1:17ft-interestingly he does not speak at this point of ‘the Twelve’; these appear 
only in the traditional formula 1 Cor. 15:5), he meets only with Peter and James the 
Lord’s brother - who did not belong to the circle of the Twelve. It seems as if at this 
early point the institution of ‘the Twelve’ already belongs to the past. This impression 
is strengthened by the fact that the four catalogues of the Twelve (Mk. 3:16-19; ML 
10:2-16; Lk. 6:14-16; Acts 1:13) present ‘problems in the history of tradition which 
can scarcely be resolved’ (J. Roloff, TRE 3, p. 434). The fact that the traitor Judas also 
belonged to the original circle of the Twelve ('one of the twelve’ - cf. Mk. 14:10,20, 
43; Ml 26:14; Lk. 22:3; Jn. 6:71), and - according to Luke’s account - was replaced 
by Matthias (Acts 1:26), tells against the conjecture (G. Klein) that the circle of the 
Twelve first arose after Easter. Rather it embodies, as a symbol for the eschatological 
people of God, the elect, the continuity between the pre-Easter and the post-Easter 
fellowship with Jesus, the Christ With the decline of apocalyptic expectations in early 
Christianity, this circle very soon lost its original significance. In place of the office 
of judge (cf. Rev. 21:14) the office of apostle now moves into the foreground. 


The concept of the Apostle in primitive Christianity 

The description of the Twelve as ‘apostles’ occurs first erf all in Mark, where it is 
said: 'And he [= Jesus] created the twelve, whom he also named apostles, that they 
might be with him and that he might said than out to preach and to have authority to 
drive out the demons’ (3:14f.). It is indeed often assumed that the phrase 'whom he 
also named apostles’ is taken ova from Lk. 6:13. Yet this assumption is unfounded, 
especially since Mk. 6:30 in combination with 6:7 confirms that Mark identifies the 
Twelve with the disciples (paOrfccu; cf. 6:25) and the apostles, even though as a rule 
he prcfen the formula ‘the twelve’ (cf. 3:16; 4:10,6:7 and often), whereas Matthew, 
who also once uses the phrase 'the twelve apostles’ (10:2), readily adds the word 
‘disciples’ (pa9t]xcu; 10:1; 11:1). Mk. 3:14f. is illuminating to the extent that there 
an explanation of the title apostle is given, for the Twelve are ‘sent out’ (djtocrteXXeiv) 
to preach, and they receive authority ova the demons. The introductory formula ‘he 
created the twelve’ is also worthy of note. The institution here appears as the work of 
the earthly Jesus, who however in Mark’s theology, conceived in post-Easter terms, 
is no otha than the still hidden Messiah. Here he symbolically lays the foundation for 
his new people of God, and the apostolate is given a basis in the pre-Easter sending- 
out of the disciples. It is clear that the creation of the Twelve as apostles is stamped 
by the theology of Mark, which for its part has influenced Matthew and Luke. This 
means at the same time that it was not Luke who was the creator of the apostolate of 
the Twelve, ms G. Klein thought (p. 203). Luke does indeed cany the identification of 
the Twelve with the apostles consistently further, but by no means so strictly as is 
occasionally affirmed (cf. Acts 14:4,14 with K. Haacker). For that matter, it is striking 
that in Luke’s work the formula ‘the twelve apostles' does not occur at all. Instead 
there is just once the phrase IvSexa dnooroXoi, which indicates that Luke under¬ 
stands the twelve apostles as a historic entity (cf. also Ml 28:16), as a body which must 
be appropriately supplemented after the death of a member. 

Here the criteria according to which the new apostle is to be chosen are 
illuminating; for in them it becomes particularly clear how Luke in terms of 
content understands the apostle concept In the speech which he places in the 
mouth of Peter it is said: ‘Of the men who were together with us in all the time in which 
the Lord Jesus watt in and out among us - beginning from the baptism of John to the 
day on which he was taken up from us - one of these men must now become a witness 
of his resurrection with us* (Acts 1:21f.). For Luke it is thus decisive that an apostle 
was a companion of the earthly Jesus, from his baptism by John to the day of his 
ascension. Certainly he is also a witness to his resurrection, as Paul requires - and this 
is especially singled out, but above all he must have been a companion of the earthly 
Jesus from the beginning of his activity on. There is no word of a mission and 
corresponding authorisation from the risen Lord. What Luke is aiming at is clear he 
is concerned for a chain of eye-witnesses without any gaps, for historical reliability. 
On this for him die trustworthiness of the witness (pdpru^) depends, and he regards 
the apostles as such witnesses of the first ortfcr (cf. G. Schneider). Paul, who was called 
only after the ascension of Jesus, (foes not meet the criteria of Luke’s apostle concept 

By this binding of the apostle concept to the historical Jesus and not only through 
concentration on the Twelve, who in Acts are mentioned only once (Acts 6:2 - 
elsewhere Luke speaks of ‘the apostles’), Luke restricted the apostle concept to a 
particular period in history. And it can be foreseen that die age of the apostles will at 


XIII. The Picture of the Apostle in early Christian Tradition 

some time come to an end. But thereby the apostles and their period - and with them 
indeed Paul too - are given a special position in the Church. With them its history 
began, and they vouch for the truth of its origins. 

2.3: The two centres of gravity in the Pauline and Lucan writings give each a 
different stamp to the primitive Christian apostle concept, and this at the same time 
points to developments and changes in the early Christian picture of the apostle, in 
which Luke as it were appears as a counterpoint to Paul and marks a provisional 
terminus for the efforts to delimit the apostle concept, which began very early. Apart 
from these, the term accurs only sporadically in the New Testament, but sometimes 
with special accents. The opening formulae of 1 and 2 Peter resemble those of the 
Pauline and Deutero-Pauline letters, in that in each case they present Peter as ‘apostle 
of Jesus Christ’. Over and above that, 2 Peter shows clear criticism of false prophets 
and teachers (2:1), and here possibly early Christian itinerant apostles and prophets 
are meant, for the author refers for the strengthening of orthodoxy not only to the ‘holy 
prophets’ of the old covenant but also to ‘your apostles' (3:2), without naming the 
latter more precisely. They appear-in the same way as in Jud. 17-as reliable mediators 
of the words and commands of the Lord (Christ). In 2 Peter however Paul is mentioned 
by name (3:15) and even described as ‘beloved brother’, which after 1:1 can only mean 
that he is reckoned to the circle of the apostles (in contrast to Acts!). Here we can already 
see the effort, which is carried further in the 'Apostolic Fathers' (cf. 1 Clem. 3; Ign. Rom. 
43), to bring Peter and Paul together as the two most important apostolic authorities^ 

The Letter to the Hebrews has an emphasis of its own. Only here is Christ himself 
described as ‘apostle’ (3:1), while nothing is said of other apostles. Jesus is apostle and 
high priest, and as Son of God he is at the same time the sole mediator between God 
and his community, surpassing Moses. According to l:4ff. he is even superior to all 
angels. That this diuSoroXog appears as a redeemer links him with gnostic ideas. In 
Mani’s Kephalaia ‘apostle’ is one of the titles of honour of the redeemer, who reveals 
himself in speeches and dialogues to his disciples (cf. O. Michel. Hebraerbnef, KEK 
11th ed. ad loc ). Yet Hebrews appears to be more strongly indebted to Jewish 
traditions, above all to the Jewish Wisdom literature (Heb. 1:3. for example, clearly 
alludes to Wisd. 7:26). However, here the boundaries between Jewish-hellenistic 
(Wisdom) literature, apocalyptic and Gnosis are notoriously fluid. In our context this 
can only be referred to in passing. Heb. 3:1 however shows at the same time that the 
apostle concept in early Christianity was not anchored to one meaning, and could be 
variously interpreted: it could also be brought into association with the concepts of 
‘angel* and ‘priest* - in the sense of divine mediation of salvation • so that from there 
it could also penetrate into the early chnstological terminology. In Justin (d. ca. 163) 
we find it later, likewise in association with a whole range of christological titles. In 
him Christ is described not only as Logos, Son of God and Teacher, but also as 
6 yyeXos and (birioxoXog, (Apol. I 63.5; cf. also 12.9). 

The ideas about Christ as the one ‘sent’ by God in the Gospel of John move in 
peculiar proximity to Heb. 1:3 (cf. J.A. BUhner, p. 325). However, the Fourth Gospel 
in this connection avoids the substantive d^OcnoLoc;, but rather expresses the sending 
of the Son by the Father by using verbs (AjiooteXXeiv, Jtepjiav), as it does the sending 
of the disciples by the risen Lord (Jn. 20:21: ‘As my Father sent me, so I send you’!). 


The concept of the Apostle in primitive Christianity 

The formulation 6 JttpHKx; pe (Jiatfie) occurs frequently on the lips of Jesus (5:37; 
6:44; 7:49 and often). The only place at which the Gospel of John employs the 
substantive (13:16) is only indirectly connected with Christ. When Jesus there in 
connection with the foot-washing emphasises: ‘Truly, truly, I say to you: A servant 
is not greater than his master nor an apostle greater than the one who sent him', this 
sounds rather like criticism of an apostle concept which is on the point of becoming 
a special title of honour, for it is striking that John otherwise avoids the term. 

3: As a conclusion, it remains to hold fast the point that there was not a uniform 
early Christian apostle concept As a ‘neologism’ (K. Haacker), it underwent 
various mintings - including association with Jewish shaliach ideas. For Paul, his 
encounter with and commissioning by the risen Christ had a constitutive 
significance for his apostleship. No human institution commissioned him, but 
Christ himself. Like the Old Testament prophets, he saw himself called through 
a Christophany before Damascus, ami appointed as an apostle (cf. Hahn, p. 68). 
This links him at the same time with the early Christian itinerant apostles and 
prophets (cf. 1 Cor. 9:1-6; J. Roloff, TRE 3, p. 437). 

The charismatic and pneumatic foundation of his apostleship stands however 
in tension with that of his predecessors (cf. Gal. 1:17), who as adherents (paOt]iaO 
and travelling companions of Jesus (cf. Acts 1:2If.) first witnessed to and 
proclaimed the resurrection of their Lord. Over against them Paul describes 
himself as the last and least of the apostles (1 Cor. 15:9), and thereby lends support 
to the tendency to limit the circle of the apostles to the oldest witnesses of the 
resurrection. These are according to 1 Cor. 15:3-5 Cephas and the Twelve, who 
are then understood by Luke as the real apostles; that for him means: as ‘guarantors 
of the tradition which founded the Church’, and connected with that as ‘prototypes of 
church office-bearers’ (J. Roloff, TRE 3, p. 442). 

While Ephesians and above all the Pastorals elevated Paul into the prototype and 
norm of apostolic tradition, he could be that for Luke only in a wider and more general 
sense (cf. Acts 14:4,14). 2 Peter then sought to link together the two lines of tradition, 
which was facilitated by the open manner of speaking of “the apostles” - even in Luke. 
Here the path is marked out in the early Church which in the end led to the canonisation 
of both traditions. But this is only to describe the better known part of a path which 
is altogether very tangled and full of conflict. For the adherents and champions of an 
•postdate charismatically and pneumatically defined, with whom Paul already had 
to contend in Corinth and who were certainly present in other places, accompanied the 
Church's path - sometimes as gnostic or apocalyptically oriented groups - with their own 
traditions and t h eological peculiarities (and with their own revelation documents), and 
caused the Christianity of the early centuries to appear as an extremely variegated 
movement (cf. for example RX. Wiiken, The Christians: As the Romans saw them, 1984) 


1. The concept of the apostle in primitive Christianity 

1. The earliest evidence is in the so-called 'Apostolic Fathers’: Ign. Trail, preface and Mart. 


XIII. The Picture of the Apostle in early Christian Tradition 
Pol. 16.2. See below pp. 25f. 

2. In the literature the form it usual ly the mascu 1 ine' J umas This is, however, a later alteration 
aimed at removing the situation, evidently felt offensive, that here a woman is described by 
Paul as an apostle. But even in John Chrysostom (4th cent.) it is said: To be an apostle is 
something great. But to be famed among the apostles - cons ider what great praise this is. They 
(Junia and Andronicus] were prominent because of their works and their activity. How great 
then must the wisdom of this woman have been, that she was considered worthy of the title 
of apostle' (Horn. 32 in Pom., PC 60.669f.). Cf. on this: B. Brooten. ‘“Junia... hervorragend 
unter den Aposteln", Rom. 16,7,in E. Moltmarm-Wendel(cd.),Frauenh</reii<ng,Munich 1982, 
158ff.; G. Lohfink, ‘ Weibliche Diakone im Neuen Testament ’, in G. Dautzenberg (ed .), Die Frau 
im U rchnstentum(QD95). Freiburg 1983,320-338,esp. pp. 327-332;S. Heine, Frauen derfruhen 
Christenheit, Gottingen 3 1987,49f. aid 96ff. 

3. Cf. W. Schneemelcher in his introduction, NTApo* II. p. 29.' According to the fragmentary 
information about them which can still be gathered from Acts these Hellenists (cf. Acts 6) were 
the people who first applied themsc Ives to missionary work. From the term &ji6otoXo£ it may 
be supposed that this title came into vogue in this circle and that thus first of all it denoted 
simply a special group of missionaries. ‘ 

2. The apostles as bearers of the tradition and mediators of 

Literature: 1. General: W. Bauer, Rechtgldubigkeit und Ketzerei im dltesten Christentum 
(BHTh 10). 1934; 3 1964 with appendices, ed. G. Strecker, *1971 (ET Orthodoxy and Heresy 
in Earliest Christianity, 1971); H. Koester/J.M. Robinson. Trajectories through Early 
Christianity, 1971; U.B. Mallei. Zurfruhchnsthchen Theologiegeschichte.Judenchristentum 
und Paulinismus in Kleinasien an der Wende vom ersten zum zweiten Jahrhundert n. Chr., 
1976; K. Koschorke. Die Polemik derGnostiker gegen das kirchliche Christentum (NHS12), 
1978; K. Rudolph. Die Gnosis, 1978, M980 (Lit.) (ET Gnosis. 1983); K.-W. Trdger (ed.). 
Altes Testament - Fruhjudentum - Gnosis, 1980; G. Strecker, Das Judenchristentum in den 
Pseudoklementinen (TU 70), M981 (rev. and enlarged ed.); id., art. ‘Judenchristentum*. 
TRE 17, 1988, 310-323; H Conzelmann. Heiden - Juden - Christen (BHTh 62). 1981. 

2. On individual Apostles: a) Paul: E. Aleith, Das Paulusverstdndnis in der alien Kirche 
(BZNW18), 1937; W. Schneemelcher, ‘Paulus in dergncchischen Kirchedes2. Jahrhunderts’, 
ZKG 75.1964,1-20 (= id., Ges Airfs. z.NTundz. Patristik, Anal. Vlatadon 22,1974,154 
181); E.H. Pagels, The Gnostic Paul. Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters, 1975; H.M. 
Schenke, ‘ Das Weiterwirken des Pau lus und die Pflcge seines Erbes durch die Paulus-Schule', 
NTS 21.1975,505-518; A. Lindemann, Paulus im dltesten Christentum (BHTh 58), 1979 
(Lit.!); E. Dassmann, Der Stachel im Fleisch. Paulus in derfruhehristliehen Literatur bis 
Irendus, 1979; G. Liidemann, Paulus. der Heidenapostel (FRLANT 123), 1980; id., 
Antipaulinismus imfruhen Christentum (FRLANT 130). 1983; K. Koschorke, ‘Paulus in den 
Nag-Hammadi-Texten',ZThK 78,1981,177-205; J. Jervell,‘Paulus in der Apostelgeschichte 
und in der Geschichte des Urchristentums’, NTS 32, 1986, 378-392; O. Merit, ‘Paulus- 
Forschung 1936-1985’, ThR 53,1988, 1-81. 

b) Peter: A. v. Hamack, ‘Petrus im Urteil (ter Kirchenfeinde des Altertums’, in Festg. f. 
K. Miiller, 1922.1 -6; O. Cullmann, Petrus. J linger - Apostel - Mdrtyrer. Das historische und 
das theologische Petrusproblem, 3 1960 (ET Peter. Disciple - Apostle - Martyr, 1953); E. 
Dinkier, ‘Die Petrus-Rom-Frage’.ThR 25.1959,189-230,289-335 (Lit.); W. Dietrich. Dor 
Petrusbild der lukanischen Schriften (BWANT V/14), 1972; R.E. Brown/K.P. Donfried/J. 
Reumann (eds), Peter m the NewTestamem, 1973; R. Pesch, Simon-Petrus. Geschichte und 


The Apostles as bearers of the tradition and mediators of revelation 

Bedeutung des erstenJungersJesu Christi (PuP 15), 1980; K. Berger, ‘UnfehlbarcOffenbarung. 
Petrus in der gnostischen und apokalyptischen Offcnbarungsliteratur’, Kontinuitdt und 
Einheii (FS F. MuBner), 1981, pp. 261-326; T.V. Smith, Petrine Controversies in Early 
Christianity (WUNT11/15), 1985 (Lit.). 

c) John and others: W.v. Loewenich, Das Johannesverstdndnis im 2. Jahrhundert 
(BZNW 13), 1932; E. Ruckstuhl, ‘Das JohannescvangcLium und die Gnosis’, in Neues 
Testament undGeschichte(FSO. Cullmann), 1970.143-156; O. Cul lmann, Derjohanneische 
Kreis.Zum Ur sprung des Johannesevangeliums, 1975 (ET The Johannine Circle, 1976); K. 
Wengst, Hdresie undOrthodoxie im Spiegel des ersten Johannesbriefes , 1976; \A.,Bedringte 
Gemeinde und verherrlichter Christas (BThSt 5), J 1983; G. Strecker, ’Die Anflnge der 
johanneischen Schule*. NTS 32,1986, 31-47. Andrew: P.M. Peterson, Andrew, Brother of 
Simon Peter, His History and his Legends. 1958; F. Dvornik, The Idea of Apostolicity in 
Byzantium and the Legend of the Apostle Andrew (DOS 4), 1958 (cf. on this M. Homschuh, 
ZKG 71,1960,138-142). Judas Iscariot: W. Vogler. Judas Iskarioth. Untersuchungen zu 
Tradition undRedaktion von Texten des Neuen Testaments und auficrkanonischen Schriften 
(ThA 42), 1983; 1 1985 (Lit); G. Schwarz, Jesus und Judas. Aramaistische Untersuchungen 
zurJesus-Judas-Oberlieferung (BWANT123), 1988 (LiL). d) Women: L. Zschamack, Der 
Dienst der Frauen in den ersten Jahrhunderten der christlichen Kirche, 1902; R. Albrecht, 
Das Leben der heiligen Makrina auf dem H inter grand der Thekla-Traditionen (FKDG 38). 
1986; S. Heine. Frauen derfrUhen Christenheit, M987. 

1. Characteristic features of the understanding of the apostle in early 
Christianity: The event of Easter is not accessible in any other way than through 
the testimony of the apostles, the witnesses to the resurrection. For the Christian 
community and its preaching, just as much depends upon the credibility of these 
witnesses as upon the event of the resurrection itself, through which the fate of the 
earthly Jesus, his preaching and his works, and above all his death upon the cross, 
underwent an interpretation that was repeatedly shaped afresh, that in this Jesus 
God’s salvation for this world lies once and for all determined, that he is the 
promised Messiah and redeemer of the world. In the apostolic message the 
preaching of the resurrection of Jesus and the interpretation of this unique event 
in history as an act of God for the wold created and beloved by him belong 
inseparably together. To this the Church owes its existence, and to hand it on 
unadulterated is its abiding task in history. This handing on. which aims at 
acceptance in faith, is however for its part something wrought by God. The risen 
Lard himself selected his messengers - not only from the circle of his disciples, as 
the example of Paul shows - invested than with power through the gift of his Spirit, 
and sent them into the world. The apostles are thus not solely the direct eye¬ 
witnesses of a historical event, essential for its reliable transmission, but at the 
same time ambassadors (cf. 2 Cor. 5:20) and interpreters of this event, which has 
overpowered them themselves and which they now hand on with the authority of 
the Spirit of God as a power for bliss (cf. Rom. 1:16). They are messengers of salvation, 
bearers of divine revelation (cf. 2 Cor. 12:lff.;Mt. 16:17), and they vouch for the truth 
of their message with their own persons - not a few at the cost of their lives. 

The abundance of apostolic witnesses and testimonies, however, raises the 
question of the credibility and trustworthiness of individual voices, especially 
since from the beginning there was dispute ova the witness to Christ and the 
interpretation of the Easter event. Here there already appears within the New 


XIII. The Picture of the Apostle in early Christian Tradition 

Testament literature a particular tension between the charismatically determined 
aposlolate of Paul and the historically anchored apostolate of Luke, which is 
bound to the person of the earthly Jesus and understood as eye-witness authority 
in a historical sense. This tension is already reflected in the conflict between Peter 
and Paul, the first and the last witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus according to 
1 Cor. 15:3ff,, in connection with the question of the legitimacy of Paul’s 
apostkship. The tension is further intensified by the fact that Paul previously had 
persecuted the community of Christ, indeed even Christ himself (Acts 9:5; Gal. 
1:13; 1 Cor. 15:9 and often). In the Jewish-Christian literature especially there 
appears a clear coolness towards Paul • for example among the ‘Ebionites’ and 
Encradtes (cf. On gen, c. Cels. V 65) - which can be aggravated into a vehement 
anti-Paulinism, as in the pseudo-Clementines (cf. G. SCrocker, also E. Dassmann, 
283ff.; G. Uidemann, Antipaulinismus). In writings of a Jewish-Christian slant, 
James the Lord’s brother often appears as a special authority alongside Peter and 
the Twelve, in addition to the apostles proper. On the other hand there were other 
circles, including gnostic groups, which particularly revered Paul (cf. E. Pagels; 
K. Koschorke). Marcion sees in Paul the apostolic authority par excellence, but a 
‘Paul’ who has been ‘cleansed of all Jewish falsifications’. His Paulinism is 
emphatically directed against a combination of the Christian with the Jewish 
tradition, and thus stands in contrast to the anti-Paulinism Of Jewish-Christian or 
anti-gnostic circles. 

The incorporation of Paul into the recognised apostolic tradition, which was 
understood as normative, was one of the most important decisions of the early 
Church. The way runs from the so-called Deutero-Paulines through Luke’s Acts, 
the Pastorals and 2 Peter to 1 Clement, in which the two great martyrs Peter and 
Paul are commemorated side by side (1 Clem. 5); from this, among other things, 
the special position of the apostolic foundation in Rome was then derived (cf. 
Irenaeus, adv Harr IE 3.2; Tertullian, Praescr. haer. 36). The incorporation of 
Paul finds its specific expression in the canonising of the Pauline and Deutero- 
Pauline letters by the Church. In Alexandria Hebrews also was regarded as a work 
’of the Aposde’ (cf., e.g., Dionysius of Alexandria ap. Euseb. HE VI 41.6; also 
Clement of Alexandria ap. Euseb. HE VI 14.2f.). 

The mention of Paul in the anti-gnostic Epistula Apostolorum (see vol. I, 
pp.2670 is worthy of note. His unique position among the apostles is nor however 
passed over in silence - just as in Luke's Acts. Paul is also mentioned in the Acts 
of Peter (c.1-3), but here he is only a ‘fellow-apostle’ of Peter (c.10). The unique 
position of Paul, which E. Dassmann describes as ’a thorn in the flesh’ of early 
Christianity, can already be recognised from the fact that he and he alone is 
occasionally described as ‘the apostle’ (cf. G.W.H. Lampe, Lexicon 212), whereas 
by ’the apostles’ as a rule 'the Twelve’ from the circle of Jesus' disciples are meant, 
although neither the number no 1 any definite list of names was settled. 

2. The number of the apostles fluctuates in the tradition of the early Church, as 
already in the New Testament The figure of twelve, rooted in apocalyptic tradition, 
occurs frequently in early Christian literature - e.g. Justin, Dial. 42; Irenaeus, Adv. 
Haer. I 3.2; 18.4; Tertullian, adv. Marc. IV 13.1 and often - even where, from a 


The Apostles as bearers of the tradition and mediators of revelation 

historical point of view, the reference should be to eleven disciples or apostles (e.g. 
Gos.Peter 59, Asc. Is. 3.17 and often; Kerygma Petri. Cf. Mt 28:16; Acts 1:26 and 
often). In gnostic and Manichean literature there are references to a Gospel of the 
Twelve (cf. vol. I, pp.374ff.), where the title is evidently intended to underline the 
comprehensive revelation content of this document. Epiphanius (Pan. 30.13.2f.) 
quotes from the Gospel of the Ebionites a saying of Jesus, in which after the call of 
eight disciples who are mentioned by name he says: ‘ You therefore I will to be twelve 
apostles for a testimony unto Israel ’ (see vol. I, p. 170). Occasionally there is reference 
also to seventy apostles (cf. Lk 10:1 ff - or to seventy-two); this has left its deposit in 
a ‘Gospel of the Seventy’ (see vol. I, p.380). 

For outsiders, the number of the apostles of Jesus was by no means fixed. The 
Platonist Celsus speaks of ten or eleven (cf. Origen, c. Cels. D 46 and 1 62), and 
in the Babylonian Talmud five disciples of Jesus are mentioned by name: ‘Matthai, 
Nagai, Nezer, Buni, Thoda’ (Sanhedrin 43a). A decisive factor here was certainly 
which Christian group the respective informants had met with, or what they 
regarded as representative for Christianity. It is in keeping with the manifold 
character of early Christian communities that individual apostles enjoyed a 
special veneration in particular communities; these were, in addition to Peter and 
Paul, especially John and Thomas. In this connection it deserves to be noted that 
not all early Christian writers are described as apostles in the narrower sense. The 
apostles Matthew (= Levi) and John, who was identified with the ‘beloved disciple’, 
are indeed considered the authors of the Gospels of Matthew and John, but for Marie 
and Luke the title is not affirmed. They are simply described as companions and 
associates of the apostles, Mark as the associate of Peter and Luke as the companion 
of Paul. Conversely, the title ‘gospel ’ does not by any means guarantee the apostolicity 
of a revelation document Rather we hear also of a Gospel of Basilides (see vol. I, 
pp.397f.) and one of the Persian ‘apostle’ Mani (see ibid., pp.404ff.,4Ilf.). The 
gnostic ‘Gospel of Truth* (NHC13) completely renounces any apostolic legitimation, 
and indeed any historical anchoring of its message. 

In Church tradition the apostles, and above all the special group of the Twelve, 
rank as guarantors and bearers of reliable revelation. Whether the oldest manual 
of church order, the Didache, already laid claim to have been written by the 
apostles we cannot say with any ceruinty. The Epistula Apostolorum, the Syria: 
Didascalia and the Apostolic Church Order, however, are all considered as having 
been composed by the twelve apostles. 

3: This does not mean that there was a definite list of names to match the 
number twelve. In the New Testament already the lists of apostles differ (see 
above, pp. 10f.), not only in the sequence but also in the stock of the names. The 
difference appears most clearly with the name Thaddaeus (Mk. 3:18; Ml. 10:3 with 
the variant Lebbaeus), in place of which Judas son of James appears in Luke (6:16; 
Acts 1:13). Beyond that there are gradations and differences of rank in the circle of 
the apostles. Simon - sumamed Peter (or Cephas) - has an exalted position, and not 
only in Jewish-Christian circles, as the first to be called and the spokesman of the group 
(cf. Mt. 16:13-29 par.), but also as the first witness to the resurrection (cf. 1 Cor. 15:5). 
A special position is occupied also by the brothers John and James, the sons of 


XIII. The Picture of the Apostle in early Christian Tradition 

Zebedee, who are once described as ‘sons of thunder' (Mk. 3:17). Together with Peter 
they are eye-witnesses of the raising of the daughter of Jairus (Mk. 3:37; Lk. 8:31) and 
of the transfiguration of Jesus (Mk. 9:2 par.). In the garden of Gethsemane they are 
likewise singled out from the circle of the disciples as the closest associates of Jesus 
(Mk. 14:33; Mt. 26:37). It is therefore not surprising that their names appear in moat 
apostle lists of the early Church, even the incomplete ones. 

There are also, however, notable discrepancies. In contrast to the Synoptics, 
Andrew is named in the Fourth Gospel before his brother Peter, and after them 
Philip and Nathanael (Jn. 1:40ff.). In the Epistula Apostolorum (c. 2; see voi. I, 
p.252) the list begins with the names: John, Thomas, Peter, Andrew, etc., just as 
in the Apostolic Church Order. In the gnostic Pistis Sophia (c.42-43; GCS 43, pp. 
44f.), Philip, Thomas ami Matthew are named as the witnesses upon whose 
testimony the reliability of the revelation of Jesus rests - probably an allusion to 
the Gospels of Thomas and Philip, treasured and handed down in gnostic circles 
(see vol. I, pp.MOfT.; 179ff.). The Nag Hammadi discovery has brought to light a 
series of writings which show how much reference there was in gnostic circles to 
apostolic traditions - or better revelations. This holds not only for Thomas, who 
also enjoyed high repute among the Manicheans, and Philip, but also for Peter and 
Paul (cf. NHC V 2; VH 3 etc ). 

4: The apostles however, in the view of the early Church, are not only guarantors 
of reliable tradition for the life and doctrine of the Church, they are in particular also 
bearers of the mission and exemplary in their life and death. The gnostic Heracleon 
does indeed point to the fact that four of the disciples did not die as martyrs (cf. Clem. 
Alex. Strom. IV 71J), but that did not prevent the places of apostolic activity from 
becoming just as revered (cf. Tertullian, Praescr. Haer. 36.1) as the graves of the 
apostles. In Rome it was the graves of Peter and Paul (cf. Euseb. HE II 25.7), in 
Ephesus that of John and in Hierapolis that of Philip and his two virgin daughters (so 
Polycrates of Ephesus, end of 2nd cent, in Euseb. HE V 24.2f.). 

The charge for mission is from the beginning constitutive for the apostolic office, 
and not only in Paul. The New Testament mission charges (Ml 28:19f.; Lk. 24:47f.; 
Acts 1:8; 10:42) are taken up in the early Christian literature and handed on. Thus it 
is said in the Syriac Didascalia (J. Flemming, TU 25.2,1904, p. 77): ‘Jesus Christ sent 
us out, the twelve, to teach the (chosen) people and the Gentiles’ (cf. also Epist 
Apostolorum 30). Note should be taken of the special position of the people of Israel 
within the universalisucally understood mission charge, which preserves the recollec¬ 
tion of the charge to the Twelve (cf. ML 19:28 = Lk. 22:30; Bam. 8.3), but was 
variously interpreted in the course of history. In Jewish-Christian circles the priority 
of Israel was given prominence, in others the mission among the Gentile nations. In 
the Kerygma Petri (Clan. Alex. Strom. VI 5.43) Peter reports about a word of the Lord, 
that during the first twelve years the apostles should give ear to the desire for 
repentance and forgiveness in Israel, but then should him to the ‘world’. In an 
appendix to the Pistis Sophia (GCS 45, p. 254) we find the sentence: ’They went out 
by threes to the four regions of the heavens ami preached the Gospel of the kingdom 
of God in the whole world' • an indication of how concretely the universal mission 
charge was understood. The idea was also widely spread that the apostles divided the 


The Apostles as bearers of the tradition and mediators of revelation 

world into twelve parts (Act Thomae 1; Syr. Didascalia, J. Flemming, op. ciL, p. 120) 
and apportioned to each a mission sphere of his own. Eusebius (HE m 1) reports from 
Origen’s commentary on Genesis (ca. 229) that the apostles received these territories 
by lot: Thomas the land of the Parthians, Andrew Scythia, John Asia, where after a 
long sojourn he died in Ephesus. It is said of Peter that in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, 
Cappadocia and Asia he preached to the Jews in the Diaspora (cf. 1 Peter 1:1), and then 
came to Rome where - in accordance with his wish - he was crucified head downwards 
(one of the oldest testimonies for this tradition). The last to be named is Paul, who ‘had 
preached the Gospel of Christ from Jerusalem to Illyria' (Rom. 15:19) and later 
suffered martyrdom in Rome under Nero 1 . 

Three things in particular are worthy of note in this tradition: 1 ) only five apostles 
are named, not twelve, without any indication that the list is incomplete. And only with 
Peter and Paul is there any attempt to link with New Testament writings. 2) It is the 
same apostles for whom the oldest relatively extensive apostle-romances, the so- 
called Acts of apostles, have been handed down; through their legendary reports these 
have impressed the image of these apostles as preachers and wonder-workers in 
popular piety. Later this left its traces in iconography also. 3) The sequence of the 
names, finally, is unusual. However, there is a similar series - with Thomas and 
Andrew at the head - in the Pistis Sophia (c. 136; GCS 45, p. 232). This points to gnostic 
associations, which are also recognisable in the Acts themselves. These are moreover 
the same Acts of apostles ‘which the Manic bees, rejecting the New Testament Acts, 
incorporated into their canon’ (P. Nagel, ‘Die apokryphen Apostelakten des 2. und 3. 
Jahrhunderte in der mamchkischen Literalur’, in Gnosis und NT, ed. K.W. TrOgcr, 
1973, pp. 149-182; quotation from p. 152), and which had been in use among them 
at least since the 4th century. 

It is admittedly not certain whether the note from On gen transmitted by Eusebius 
reliably reproduces the former's information or has been expanded (cf. A. v. Hamack, 
TU 42.3, 1918. pp. 14ff.). But it shows the state of Eusebius' information, which was 
later expanded by two further names by Rufinus in his translation and revision of 
Eusebius’ Church History (HE 19f.). According to this Matthew went to Ethiopia and 
Bartholomew to India citeriora. We may also refer to the fact that the apostle Thomas 
according to Eusebius' account went to Parthia, while in the Acts of Thomas he 
appears as the apostle of India. 

The transmission problems of these acts, the ‘travels' (Ji£ 4 >io 6 oi) of the apostles, 
as Photius calls them (Bibi. cod. 114), can only be hinted at here (see below, pp. 75ff.). 
They indicate in their own way the difficulties of describing the early Christian picture 
of the apostle. In these texts, however, we can recognise the picture of the early 
Christian communities, as it was delineated and further developed in the 2nd and 3rd 
centuries, the image of the wonder-working and authoritatively preaching itinerant 
apostle, with sometimes very personal features. Thus according to the Acts of Paul and 
Thee la Paul travels about with the virgin Theda, who for her part accomplishes 
miracles. He himself is there described as 'a man small of suture, with a told head and 
crooked legs, in a good state of body, with eye-brows meeting and nose somewhat 
hooked, full of friendliness’ (APIThe, c. 3). It is striking that the descriptions in the 
Acts of Paul do not draw upon Luke's Acts, and the same holds for the Acts of Peter. 
Whether and to what extent these Acts report historically reliable material in addition 


XIII. The Picture of the Apostle in early Christian Tradition 

to prodigious legends is often hard to say; and the boundaries between orthodoxy and 
heresy are likewise fluid. Nevertheless the assessment of these texts in ancient Church 
literature changed only gradually from benevolent use (Tertullian; Hippolytus - 
sometimes with certain reservations) through a certain mistrust (e.g. in Euseb. HE III 
3.S) to rejection after the closing of the canon - probably also because of the partiality 
of the Manichees for these texts (cf. P. Nagel, op. cit., 154; cf. also Schaferdiek below, 
pp. 87ff.). At the time of their origin they show clearly how manifold the apostle 
picture of the early Christian communities was, quite apart from the personal 
peculiarities of individual apostles. The (ascetic) life here played a role just as 
important as the (martyr's) death - sometimes depicted in separate Acts. This aspect was 
in addition a necessary elemerK in the legitimising of the early Christian apostolic tradition. 

5. On individual apostles: The apostle picture of the early Church is on the one 
hand the picture of (twelve) apostles as a fellowship erf disciples and messengers 
of Jesus, with the special charge for mission (among Israel) and for the trustworthy 
handing-on of the message of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ as the message of 
salvation for the world. On the other hand, this picture only becomes concrete in the 
life and work of the individual apostles. In the abundant and many-faceted images of 
these individual apostles which the early Church created and handed on, the picture 
of the apostle once again takes on a special stamp. At the same time, in these varied 
and mutually conflicting images and in the special reverence for particular apostles 
there is reflected the relationship of the early Christian groups and communites. Here 
it is also a question of the reception and influence of New Testament traditions, which 
themselves are not always uniform (cf. the portrait of Paul which emerges from his 
own letters with the Lucan picture of Paul), together with other Church traditions from 
the first centuries of Christian history, in a peculiar combination of historical 
recollection and theological interpretation, which is characteristic for the texts at our 
disposal. It is not possible here to enter in detail into the developments mentioned, or 
the different apostle portraits. Not only is our source material too extensive, but its 
investigation is still only in its beginnings. Even now the boundaries between the 
canonical writings erf the New Testament and die apocryphal aid extra-biblical traditions 
are too sharply drawn for us to be aware of the overlapping and widely influential 
developments in the early Church and recognise that the process of the formation of the 
canon and the growth erf the Church are connected, taking both theological and historical 
aspects into account. Only in two areas - apart from single studies - are there major and 
continued investigations in this direction, namely in the study of Peter and erf Paul. 

a) In the study of Peter , mention should be made above all of the works of R. Pesch 
(Simon-Petrus, 1980) and K. Berger (‘Unfehlbare Offenbarung. Petrus in der 
gnostischen und apokalyptischen Offenbarungsliteratur’, 1981). Pesch in his book 
has not only investigated the development of the picture of Peter in the New Testament 
writings and inquired into its theological and historical background - in the Synoptics, 
in John, where Peter appears as subordinated to the beloved disciple, in Paul and in 
the Petrine letters (pp. 136-152) - but has also followed up the apocryphal traditions 
(pp. 152-162). The New Testament at various places knows Peter as spokesman of the 
apostles, but also as the one who denied his Lord, as the 'rock' on which Christ founded 


The Apostles as bearers of the tradition and mediators of revelation 

his Church, as a witness of the resurrection, but also as one of those who fell asleep 
in Gethsemane, as ebullient and also as weak in faith. The conflict with Paul also shows 
him as profoundly a man. This picture - in detail one of many facets - is reinforced by 
the indication that Peter was married (cf. Mk. 1:29-31 par.; 1 Cor. 9:5) and had children 
(cf. ML 10:29); in the Acts of Peter there is reference to a daughter. Origen however 
emphasises that Peter after his call forsook his wife and children (Comm, in Ml. tom. XV 
21 * GCS40, p. 411). In gnostic literature he appears at times as an outspoken foe of women 
(Pistis Sophia c. 72, p. 104; Gos. Thom. log. 114), of whom Mary stands in awe. 

On the other side - as K. Berger has underlined with extensive source material (cf. 
the list, pp. 261-26S) - Peter does indeed rank as ‘a human witness and mediator of 
revelation’ (p. 268), but at the same time he is ‘the type par excellence of the initiated’ 
(p. 269), who in the course of early Church history is united with the episcopal office 
in a claim for infallibility over against mere knowledge and discernment. In the New 
Testament already the first traces can be found of the way in which the reception of 
revelation and leadership in the Church flowed together in his person (e.g. Jn. 21). In 
gnostic literature, in contrast, Peter recedes behind Thomas (Gos. Thom., log. 13) or 
even John. The controversy with Gnosis is reflected, on the basis of popular piety, in 
the Acts of Peter from the end of the 2nd century. Here Peter appears as a miracle- 
worker who makes dogs and suckling infants speak, drives out demons, raises the 
dead, and so on, and in this manner unmasks Simon Magus as a deceiver and 
messenger of the devil, and overcomes him. The Pseudo-Clementines belong in the 
same tradition. The gnostics come to terms with Peter in their own way (cf. NHC VII 
3; on this see K. Koschorke, Polemik, 1978, pp. 32f.). For them Peter is not the 
beginning of the episcopate, but the origin of true Gnosis, out of which Christian 
‘brotherhood’ develops. The Church’s portrait of Peter, in which office and knowl¬ 
edge form a unity, from which springs the authority to forgive a penitent his sins, is 
for them a false picture. The conflict over the correct portrait of Peter is an expression 
of the debate about orthodoxy and heresy in this period. And since in the conviction 
of the Church the apostolic heritage of Peter lived on in the Roman episcopate, Rome 
became the bulwark of orthodoxy in this debate. 

The Petrine tradition found an ally in the Clementine, in that in the Pseudo- 
Clementines from the 3rd century not only is the struggle against Simon Magus 
continued, but his person is made the basis - from Jewish-Christian tradition - for 
the attack against Paul. The title of apostle is already denied to Paul in the 
Kerygraata Petri, one of the basic documents for the Pseudo-Clementines, 
because he did not belong to the Twelve. Even his vision of Christ is contested. 
On the other hand Peter is recognised (/fom.XVII 18.1-2; 19.4; cf. also Berger, 307ff.) 
as a visionary and recipient of divine revelation (Ml 16:17). It is however to be noted 
that not only mustthe gnostic picture of Peter be distinguished from that of the Church; 
the eastern must also be distinguished from the western (Latin) portrait 

b) Alongside the picture of Peter, that of Paul has been the subject of recent major 
investigations which also take the extra-canonical tradition into account (esp. E 
Dassmann; A. Lindemann). Since Paul never personally saw the earthly Jesus, and 
before his conversion even persecuted the Christian community, his position among 
the apostles is disputed from the beginning. In die Jewish-Christian tradition reserva- 


XIII. The Picture of the Apostle in early Christian Tradition 

lions against Paul as apostle to the Gentiles live on (Irenaeus, adv. Haer. I 26.2; ID 
15.1; On gen, c. Cels V 65; Euseb. HE ID 27.4 and often). The special veneration 
accorded to him by Marc ion probably contributed to the fact that Tamilian described 
him as ‘apostle of the heretics' (adv. Marc, in 5.4). The gnostics also, however, 
esteemed Paul as a visionary and bearer of special revelations. But it is said of Basilides 
that he ‘and his true son and disciple Isidore say that Matthias spoke to them secret 
words which he heard from the Saviour when he was taught privately * (Hippo). Ref. 
VII 20.1). Of Valentinus however his adherents affirmed that he heard a cer tain 
Theudas, a disciple of Paul (Clem Alex. VII17.106). This does confirm that Paul was 
recognised as an apostolic authority in gnosuc circles. But this holds not for him alone, 
but also for Peter, John, Thomas, Matthias and other apostles. He plays a special role 
only with Marc ion and his followers. 

If in gnostic tradition Paul ranks above all as a bearer and mediator of divine 
revelations, in the devotional literature of the Gentile Christian communities he 
appears as a missionary, wonder-worker and martyr, especially in the Acts of Paul. 
But the author of the Acts of Paul (end of 2nd century) is just as little concerned 
for the teaching of the apostle, which he set down in his letters, as is the Epistula 
Apostolorum, which is intended to secure recognition in the Church for the 
activity of the apostle to the Gentiles, or the Acts of Peter, the concern is rather 
with his person, which is ‘hagiographically taken ova for popular piety* (Dassmann, 
p. 279). It must however, be added that he sets himself against false teju-hmg « 
above all in a fictitious writing, the so-called 3 Corinthians (Act. Paul., section 8, 
see below, pp. 254ff.), in which the basic doctrines of the Christian faith, the creation 
of the world by God, the incarnation of Christ and the resurrection of the flesh, are 
defended against gnostic and Marc ionite views. The preaching of continence and of 
the resurrection appears already at the beginning of the Acts of Paul (cf. 3.5 with the 
appended beatitudes) as the core of Paul *s doctrine - sometimes linking up with New 
Testament traditions, but without any need being felt to convey an authentic and 
historically reliable picture of the apostle to the Gentiles. Paul is here only one of the 
apostolic witnesses who as a body vouch for the trustworthiness of the Church’s 
doctrine. Irenaeus appears to have been the first to rediscover Paul the theologian in 
his original significance for the Church. In him the Pauline writings attain to canonical 
tank, and that in their uncut pre-Marc ionite form (cf. adv. Haer. Ill 12.12) but at the 
same time with special consideration of the Pastorals (cf. adv. Haer. I 1, preface). By 
casting back to the original Paul tradition. Irenaeus marks out in advance the way 
which determined the further development of the canon. The historical beginnings are 
given a normative significance for the life and doctrine of the Chinch. 

c) It is scarcely possible to obtain an authentic picture of the apostle John from the 
New Testament writings and early Christian literature. Comparison erf die Gospel of 
John, the letters, and the Apocalypse of John led already in the early Church to the 
conviction that the author of the Apocalypse might indeed be called John, but could 
not be identical with the author of the other writings (cf. Dionysius of Alexandria ap. 
Euseb. HE VII25). For the Murat on an Canon however (9ff.) all these writings derive 
from the same author! Special attention was accorded in the early Church to John the 
son of Zebedee, who is frequently mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels, in Paul (Gal. 


The Apostles as bearers of the tradition and mediators of revelation 

2:9) and in Acts and evidently occupied a prominent role in the early Church, 
especially after the early death of his brother James (ca. 42 A.D.; cf. Acts 12: If.). 
Papias of Hierapolis distinguishes from him a presbyter of the same name (Euseb J/E 
IU 39.3), and Eusebius traces the tradition of two paves of John in Ephesus back to 
the two bearers of this name (HE III 39.6). The accounts of the death of John the 
theologian, who generally ranks as author of the Fourth Gospel, are perplexing. Papias 
reports (according to Philip of Side; cf. U. Kdrtner, Papias von Hierapolis, 1983,63f.) 
that like his brother James he was slain by the Jews. Beside this there is a widespread 
tradition that he died at an advanced age (Tertullian, de Anima 50; Clem. Alex. Quis 
div. salv. 42.2; cf. also Iren. adv. Haer. D 22-5; m 4; Act Job. 115 etc.). Origen speaks 
of a tradition which knows of an exile of John to Patmos (Comm, in Mt. XVI6), but 
this is evidently modelled on Rev. 15. The gnostic Heracleon however, the earliest 
commentator on the Gospel of John, evidently knows of a martyrdom of John; for he names 
four disciples who died a natural death, but not John (cf. Clem. Alex. Strom. IV 713). 
Aphraates (417.10) expressly mentions James and John among the apostolic martyrs. Their 
two names also appear side by side in the Syriac and in the Armenian martyrologium. 

Similar difficulty attaches to the problem of the authorship of the Fourth Gospel, 
of which it was occasionally affirmed that it was composed by the heretic Cerinthus 
(so die Roman presbyter Gaius; cf. K. Wengst, Haresie, 1976; on Cerinthus, esp. pp. 
24-34). On the other hand that mysterious figure who in John's Gospel is described 
as 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' (Jn. 13:21ff.; 19;25ff„ 35; 20:2!ff.; 21:lff.) was 
apparently already identified with John at an early date, and this had a decisive 
influence on the later canonising of this document 

In the Acts of John it is said that John was called by Jesus while still a young man (113), 
and his virginity is repeatedly emphasised. In the Pistis Sophia Jesus says: ‘Mary 
Magdalene and John the virgin will be superior to all my disciples’ (c. 96. GCS 45, p. 148). 
And in fact John as a close associate of Jests enjoys a high esteem in gnostic circles. 

On the other side Irenaeus (adv. Haer. in 11.1) writes that John composed the 
Gospel against Cerinthus and the Nicolai tans. In the Muratori Canon (10) it was 
bishops who induced John to write, while in the Hypotyposes of Clement of 
Alexandria (Euseb., HE VI 14.7) it is said: ‘Last of all John, knowing that the 
human nature had (already) been set forth in the Gospels, at the urging of his 
friends and inspired by the Spirit composed a spiritual Gospel’. Since the traditions 
attaching to the various bearers of the name John in the early Church have evidently mingled 
with one another, it is no longer possible to obtain a clear picture of the apostle. 

d) In the Pistis Sophia, Philip, Thomas ami Matthew (Matthias?) are charged by 
the risen Lord with the task of writing 'all the words which I shall say and do, and all 
the things which you shall see’ (c. 42, GCS 45, p. 44; cf. c. 43, p. 45). They are to be 
the officially appointed witnesses of his message. The Gospels of Philip and Thomas 
then also rank in gnostic circles as central revelation documents. These three are 
already mentioned by Papias (c. 140) in the preface to his xvQumfrv ££tiYrpet£ as 
bearers of apostolic tradition (ap. Euseb. HE in 39.4). While the fragment from the 
Gospel of Philip quoted by Epiphamus (Pan. 26.2-3; see vol. I, p. 180. This passage 
is not contained in the Coptic Gospel of Philip from Nag Hammadi [NHC II 3, vol. 
L pp. 179ff.]!) shows Encratite features, Philip elsewhere is usually regarded as 


XIII. The Picture of the Apostle in early Christian Tradition 

mamed and as the father of daughters (cf. Papias ap. Euseb. HE III 39.9; Clem. Alex, 
ap Euseb. HE III 30.1). Polycrates of Ephesus mentions Philip, one of the twelve 
apostles, ‘who sleeps in Hierapolis with his two daughters who grew old as virgins, 
while another daughter, who walked in the Holy Spirit, rests in Ephesus’ (ap. Euseb. 
HE ID 31.3). The reference to the daughters recalls Acts 21; 8f., but the daughters there 
are those of Philip ‘the evangelist' (cf. Acts 6:5; 8:5ff.). Here evidently a mixing of 
the traditions has taken place. 

The Thomas tradition is broader than with Philip, and to some extent is still living 
in the eastern Churches. Thomas is mentioned not only in Papias and in the Pistis 
Sophia (see above), but also in the Epistula Apostolorum 2(13); 11 (22) (see vol. I„ 
pp. 252f.; 255f.), where he is named with Peter and Andrew (!) as one who doubted 
the resurrection of Jesus (cf. Jn. 20:20,27). Over and above that he ranks as the author 
of the Apocalypse of Thomas (see below, pp. 748ff.) and the Gospel of Thomas (see 
vol. I, pp. 1 lOff.). There are extensive reports about him - developed in novellistic 
fashion - in the Acts of Thomas (see below, pp. 322ff.), where the apostle - as in Syrian 
tradition generally - is described as Judas Thomas and after a gnostic pattern ranks as 
the bearer and mediator of special secret revelations (Act. Thom. c. 39). In addition 
he is treated as twin brother of the Redeemer, and therefore bears the nickname Didymus. 
In the older tradition Thomas is held to be the missionary of Parthia (Origen ap Euseb. HE 
HI 1); in the Acts of Thomas he appears for the first time as the apostle of India. 

e) Judas Iscanol plays a role all his own among the aposdes. As ‘one of the twelve’ 
he reminds the Christian community of the darker side of the saving events, since the 
•traitor’ or ‘betrayer’ also must be counted among the inner circle of the disciples. It 
is part of the biblical picture of Judas that this disciple is treated as an instrument of 
Satan (Jn. 13:27), and meets hts end - by suicide - in horrible fashion (Mt. 27:3ff.; Acts 
1:18; cf. 2 Sam. 17:23). Papias developed this event into a dire warning, according to 
which Judas’ body swelled to such proportions ‘that he could no longer pass through 
where a wagon could easily go’, and finally went to a wretched death. He left behind 
such an offensive odour that the piece of ground on which he died remained waste and 
uninhabited (transmitted in Apollinaris of Laodicea. cf. U. Kortner, Papias, 59ff.). W. 
Vogler has examined the picture of Judas in the apocrypha also (pp. 127-136). There 
it is in general expanded as a negative example for the fate of the ungodly, and his 
parents and his wife are also drawn in (e.g. in the Gospel of Bartholomew, see vol l pp. 
537ff.). There were however gnostic circles, especially the Canutes, who did not share the 
general condemnation of Judas, but saw in him an instrument of Sophia. From them 
comes the so-called Gospel of Judas, which has not indeed survived but is mentioned by 
Irenaeus (adv Haer 131.1), Eptpharuus (Pan 38.1.5) and others (cf. vol. I, pp. 306f.). 

f) It is striking that there is hardly any mention of female apostles in the early 
Church, although women - e.g. Mary Magdalene - are amply attested as companions 
of Jesus (Lk. 8:2) and witnesses to the resurrection (Mk. 16; Mt. 28; Lk. 24; Jn. 20) 
and Paul described Junta as prominent among the apostles’ (Rom. 16:7). Later 
however she was transformed into a masculine Junias (see above, p. 14 note 2). There 
is no woman among the ‘twelve’, and the bishops appointed in succession to than are 
male (cf. 1 Tim. 3:2). Women were elevated into presbyters and even bishops only by 
some Montanists (cf. Epiphanius, Pan 49.3). Among them the prophetic tradition was 


‘Apostolic’ as a norm of orthodoxy 

dominant (cf. Maximilla; Priscilla and others), and to this women belonged in the New 

Testament also (cf. Acts 21:9). 

In gnostic circles (contrary to 1 Tim. 2:12) women were allowed to teach and even 
to administer sacraments (cf. Irenaeus, adv. Haer. 113.1-5; Tertullian. Praescr. Haer. 
41), which further contributed to the custom that in the catholic communities the 
offices were held only by men. The conflicts connected with this are still reflected in 
the New Testament apocrypha. In the Pistis Sophia, Mary Magdalene plays a leading 
role among the apostles, and once she says: ‘I am afraid of Peter, for he threatens me 
and hates our race’ (c. 72; GCS 45, p. 104. Cf. Gos. Thom. log. 114). In gnostic 
tradition moreover there is in addition to other Mary texts a Gospel of Mary (see vol. 

1, pp. 390fT.). While Peter in this tradition passes for a foe of women, and for this reason 
is reproved by Jesus. Paul according to the report of the Acts of Paul and Thee la travels 
about with the virgin Thee la (see below, pp. 239ff.), and even charges her with the 
proclamation of the Gospel (c. 40f ). Tertullian does indeed take offence at the fact that 
the right of women to teach and to baptise was given a foundation by the example of 
Thecla (de Baptismo 17), but it was only the reception of the Acts of Paul by the 
Manichees and not only its encratite preaching which made it obsolete for the Church 
tradition as a whole. This moreover holds not only for the Acts of Paul but for all those 
acts of apostles which towards the end of the 3rd century were accepted into the 
Manichean corpus of the Acta apostolorum (cf. P. Nagel in K.W. Trdger [ed.]. Gnosis 
undNeues Testament, 1973, 149-182; Schtferdiek. below pp. 87ff.) 


2. The Apostles as bearers of the tradition 

1. On the division of the lands among the apostles, cf. E. J unod, ‘Origine, Eusibe et la tradition 
sur la repartition des champs de mission des apdtres (Eusibe, HE ID. 1.1 -3)’, in F. Bovon et 
al., LesActes Apocrypha des Apotres, 1981,233-248. 

3. ‘Apostolic* as a norm of orthodoxy 

Literature: C. Andresen, ‘Die Anfltnge christlicher Lehrentwicklung’, in id. (ed.). 
Handbuch derDogmen- und Theologiegeschichte /, 1982 (= 1988), 1-98; G.G. Blum, art. 
’Apostel/Apostolat/Apostolixitit II. Alte Kirche’, TRE 3. 1978, 445-466 (Lit.); id.. 
Tradition und Sukzession. Studitn zum Normbegriff des Apostolischen von Paul us bis 
Irendus (AGTL 9). 1963; H. von Campenhausen, Die Erustehung der chrisilichen Bibet 
(BHTh 39), 1968 (ET The Formation of the Christian Bible, 1972); R. Schnackenburg, 
* Apostolizitit: Stand der Forschung', in R. Groscurth (ed.), KatholizitdtundApostolizitdt 
(KuD, Beih. 2) 1971, pp. 51-73. 

The New Testament writings do not know the term ‘apostolic*. And where it first 
occurs in early Christian literature, it does indeed refer to the model of the apostles, 
in that it recalls the character of their letters (Ign. Trail., preface), yet not in the sense 
of a fundamental feature of the Christian Church, as later in the creed of Constanti¬ 
nople (381). Even at this point, nevertheless, we can recognise the special position 
which the early Church accorded to the apostles, especially in the so-called Apostolic 


XIII. The Picture of the Apostle in early Christian Tradition 

Fathers in the first half of the 2nd century (this term derives only from J. Cotelier in 
the 17th century). Yet in the writings which later attained to canonical status as 
apostolic witnesses there are already the beginnings of a recognition of a normative 
significance for the teachings of the apostles. For Luke the apostles are not only the 
authoritative witnesses of the life, sufferings and resurrection of Jesus, the bearers of 
the Holy Spirit poured out at Pentecost, with special gifts for preaching and healing, 
and the first leaders of the Christian community, but their teachings are at the same 
time fundamental for the community (cf. Acts 2:42), for its worship and also for its 
social life (cf. Acts 4:32). According to Acts 20:17-38, Paul handed on his charge to 
the elders in Ephesus, and so established something like an apostolic tradition. The 
Pastorals attributed to Paul reinforce this feature, in that the tradition of faith which 
has been ’given in trust’ is set over against die ’falsely so called gnosis’ (1 Tim. 6:20) 
and reference is made to ‘sound doctrine’ (cf. Tit. 1:9). The words of the apostle are 
also recalled in a similar sense at other points in the late writings of the New Testament 
(Jud. 17; 2 Pet 3:2). 

It is however not only the writings which later became canonical that refer to the 
apostles as authorities in questions of doctrine and church practice; Marc ion and the 
gnostics also appeal to them. According to the report of Epiphanius, Marcion called 
his corpus of Pauline writings 'to dnoorokucov' (Pan. 42.10,12), and the Valentinian 
Ptolemy, who taught in Rome in the 2nd century and inter alia debated with Marcion, 
appealed to ’the apostolic tradition handed down by succession' (TT|v dnoorokixffv 
naQ&bcxKv fot 6ta6ox?)£; Bp. ad Floram, in Epiphanius, Pan. 33.7). Later it is above 
all Hippolytus who refers to the traditio apostolica (cf. CIG 8613A; also Origen, de 
Princ. I, prooem. 2). Gnostic interest was directed to the apostles above all as bearers 
of divine revelations and mysteries, which the risen Lord was held to have imparted 
to his disciples after his resurrection and which then - by way of oral transmission from 
teacher to disciple - could become tradition. Over against this the Church tradition 
from Irenaeus on increasingly relied on the written tradition of the oldest historical 

In the middle of the 2nd century an attempt was made to counter gnostic revelation 
documents with the Church’s own (Epistula Apostolorum). Papias of Hierapoiis was 
still of the opinion that ‘book-learning did not profit (him) so much as the (statements 
of the) living and abiding voice’ of the presbyters who had been the direct auditors of 
the apostles (ap. Euseb. HE ID 39.4). It is however against gnostic ideas of revelation, 
in the manner of pneumatic immediacy and visionary intuition, that Irenaeus then 
directs his anti-gnostic design of giving the concept ‘apostolic’ a historical anchorage 
and elevating the traditio ab apostolis (adv. Haer Ul 2.2; ID 3.1; IV 26.2) into die 
source and norm of Christian truth (cf. G.G. Blum, TRE 3, 1978, p.449). The 
succession of the bishops in the communities founded by the apostles, the Successio 
episcoporum (adv. Haer. in 3.1), becomes the guarantor of reliable tradition. The 
model for this idea was for Irenaeus certainly Bistop Polycarp of Smyrna, whom he 
had himself known and who is described in the Martyrdom devoted to him (Mart. Pol. 
16.2) as ’apostolic and prophetic reactor', and by Irenaeus himself once as ‘apostolic 
presbyter’ (ap. Euseb., HE V 20.7). 

While Irenaeus employs the term ‘apostolic’ relatively seldom and more fre¬ 
quently refers to the apostles as the beginning and origin of Christian tradition, that 


‘Apostolic’ as a norm of orthodoxy 

is, as persons who handed on their teaching to the bishops appointed by them, for 
Tamilian, Hippoiytus and others this becomes the ‘apostolic tradition’. Tamilian 
repeatedly refers to ‘apostolic churches’ ( Praescr. Haer. 26; 32; 36) which have 
exemplary character for all communities, and for the West particular prominence is 
given to Rome, where the blood of the martyrs Peter and Paul has especially sanctified 
the place (ib. 36.3). He even speaks of an ‘apostolic age’ (ib. 32.1) and of ‘apostolic 
mot’, among whom he counts Polycarp (ib. 32.2). He regards himself as an ‘heir of 
die apostles’ (ib. 37.5). The idea of the ‘apostolic’ thereby becomes more and more 
the norm of reliable tradition in the Church, which has its origin in the ‘apostolic 
churches'. But while in Irenaeus the handing-on of the apostolic tradition in the 
Church unites both office and spirit with the Church’s apostolic origins, in Tamilian 
this process takes an independent form as an act of handing on within the communities. 
Against Marriott it is, however, firmly held that apostolic tradition cannot be narrowed 
down to the tradition of one apostle (such as Paul), especially since the Easter 
controversy at the end of the 2nd century shows that the tradition of the Fourth Gospel, 
to which the so-called Quartodecimans in Asia Minor appealed, is in collision with the 
tradition of the West (cf. Socrates, HE V 22), that is, that there were tensions between 
the tradition of John on the one hand and that of Peter and Paul on the other. Mention 
should also be made here of the traditions of the apostle Thomas, which went through 
an independent development in the East 

Such experiences rather strengthened the idea, rooted in apocalyptic tradition, that 
the twelve apostles symbolically embodied the missionary charge for all peoples, so 
that at this point apostoliclty and catholicity of necessity touched upon and supple 
mented one another. 

Over against Marcion, but also against the gnostics, this harking back to the 
historical origins of the Church proved to be a necessary and salutary corrective. 
For not only could Paul thus be restored to the Church in his original form, but 
Peter too was preserved for the Church in his human, all too human, form. Even 
the novelistic developments in the apostolic Acts made no difference to that. 

At the end of the 4th century the norm of the ‘apostolic’ gained afresh in interest. 
This is the period in which the rymbolum apostolorum underwent its shaping (cf. 
Rufinus) and the so-called Apostolic Constitutions were created. It is probably no 
accident that it was also in this period that the canon of the apostolic writings reached 
its completion. With this the ‘apostolic’ has finally carried the day as the basic norm 
of the Church, which with its historical anchoring preserves the memory of the 
Church’s origin, independent of pneumatic and charismatic eruptions. 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 


Wilhelm Schneemelcher 

1. Literature: F. Torm. Die Psychology der Pseudonymit&t im Hinblick auf die Literatur 
des Urchristentums (Studien der Luther-Akademie 2). 1932; A. Meyer. 'Religiose 
Pseudepigraphie als ethisch-psychologisches Problem', ZNW 35.1936,262-279; K. Aland. 
‘The Problem of Anonymity and Pseudonymity in Christian Literarurc of the Fuat Two 
Centuries'. ITS NS 12.1961,39-49 (German version in Arb.zurntl.Textforschung 2.1967, 
24-34); W. Speyer, ait. 'Fllschung, literarische', in RAC 7. 1969, cols. 236-277; id.. Die 
literarische Fdlschung im heidnischen und christlichen Altertum. Ein Versuch ihrer 
Deuiung (Hdb. d. klass. Alten.wiss. 1.2). 1971; id.. 'Fllschung, pseudepigraphische freie 
Erfindung und “echte religiose Pseudepigraphie’”. in Pseudepigrapha l. Pseudopythagorica- 
Lettres de Platon - Literature pseudipigraphique juive (Fondation Hardt, Entretiens sur 
l'antiquitd classique 18). 1972.331-368; N. Brox, 'Patristische Pseudepigraphie’, in FS A. 
Rohracher, 1969.57-61; id.. Falsche Verfasserangaben. Zur Erkldrung derfruhehristliehen 
Pseudepigraphie (Stuttgarter Bibelstudien 79), 1975; M. Hengel. ‘Anonymitlt, 
Pseudepigraphie und "Literarische Fllschung” in der jiidisch-hellenistischen Literatur’, in 
Pseudepigrapha I (see above). 229-308; N. Brox (ed.). Pseudepigraphie in der heidnischen 
und jiidisch-christlichen Ant ike (Wege der Forschung CDLXXXIV), 1977 (Lit). 

2. In the following pages four writings are brought together under the heading 
Apostolic Pseudepigrapha'. In their titles or in their subscriptions they make the 
claim to be composed by an apostle, but in other respects they are of very diverse 

The title of the Kerygma Petri (1) is attested by Cement of Alexandria, but in 
view of the fragmentary character of the few extant remains its literary Gattung 
eludes any precise definition. We may however conjecture that it was a comprehen¬ 
sive presentation of the Christian proclamation, which was placed under the name 
of Peter. The proximity to the speeches in Acts is just as little to be overlooked as 
the connection with the apologetic literature of the 2nd century. That in the Kerygma 
Petri we are dealing with a pseudepigraphon cannot indeed be proved, but is to be 

The Letter to the Laodiceans (2), in itself an altogether insignificant document, 
is a pseudapostolic epistle which deliberately, on very superficial grounds - the 



absence of the letter to the Laodiceans mentioned in Col. 4:16 - ties up with the 
Gaming of the New Testament letter and seeks to fill the gap by a combination of 
individual verses from the Pauline letters (above all from Philippians). In the case 
of this text we may speak of a literary forgery. 

The Correspondence between Paul and Seneca (3) is also a pseudapostolic 
pseudepigraphon. We cannot say whether or not it is a case of a stylistic exercise from 
a rhetorical school, but it is certain that it is a literary fiction in which, probably in 
the 4th century, a motif dating back to earlier times (Seneca and Christianity) has 
been used for the invention of a pseudapostolic exchange of letters. 

A theological and ascetic tractate, which probably originated in the 5th century 
in Priscillianist circles, has been handed down under the title Epistle o/Titus, disciple 
of Paul (4). It remains an open question whether the title was bound up with this text 
from the beginning or given to it only later. In its present form this ‘letter’ is likewise 
a pseudapostolic epigraphon, in which the theme of celibacy is dealt with under the 
name of Titus. 

One may well ask whether this selection of writings under the heading of 
Apostolic Pseudepigrapha is not somewhat arbitrary, and whether this does not 
conceal the fact that there are other writings in the present collection which ought 
also to be placed under this designation. In answer to this question, at least brief 
reference may be made to the problem of pseudepigraphy (and connected with it: 
anonymity, pseudonymity and ‘forgery’) in the literature here assembled. 

3. It is correct to say that for a long time the problem of pseudepigraphy, i.e. 
that of pseudonymity or forgery in early Christian literature, was not given adequate 
consideration 1 . This is probably connected with the fact that on the one hand the New 
Testament writings which are regarded as ‘inauthentic’ are drawn into the debate, 
which of necessity poses the question of canonicity, and thus a historical and literary 
problem is combined with a dogmatic one. On the other hand, any discussion of this 
theme must define very precisely the terms with which we are working. Otherwise 
it is all too easy for the emphasis to be wrongly placed. Even W. Speyer, to whom 
we owe the basic works in this field, did not entirely escape this danger. In his concern 
to investigate the phenomenon of ‘forgery’ as comprehensively as possible, he 
assembled an abundance of material and endeavoured to demonstrate the problems 
connected with the forgeries in antiquity and late antiquity and contribute to their 
solution. But to my mind, despite his illuminating definition of the term (Die 
literarische Fdlschung 13ff.), he used the concept ‘forgery’ too extensively. Above 
all - and this affects the literature with which we are concerned - he probably did not 
take the literary Gattungen sufficiently into account, nor did he adequately consider 
the historical environment to which a text belongs. The difference between the 
several epochs of Church history in the early centuries naturally left its deposit in the 
literature also, and has to be appropriately taken into account in discussing the theme 
of pseudepigraphy 2 . 

This is not the place to enter into a detailed discussion with Speyer and Brox. It 
must suffice to refer to a few points which are important for the apocryphal literature. 

a) A large part of the gospel literature brought together in volume I cannot be 
comprehended by the term pseudepigraphy. The older texts especially, of which in 


XIV. Apostolic Pscudepigrapha 

any case we sometimes have only fragments extant, are not literary works with (or 
without) a genuine (or inauthentic) author’s name. Rather we must regard than, on 
the analogy of the canonical Gospels, as the collecting and shaping of traditional 
material for liturgical, catechetical ami missionary purposes, hence not as works of 
literature, for which the name of an author, whether genuine or false, would be 
essential 3 . 

Another group of ’gospels' uses the name of an apostle (or some other prominent 
person) to bestow upon the collection of traditions the legitimacy of the ‘true gospel ’. 
Here it is to be noted that this binding to a tradition linked with a person is often 
nothing more than the acceptance of a tradition current in a particular circle. Thus, 
for example, the Coptic Gospel of Thomas is linked with the person of Thomas only 
in the opening words, but otherwise is a very complex collection of older material 
for which terms like pseudepigraphy or forgery are scarcely applicable. The same 
holds also for several other texts of this category, which can be described as revelation 
documents intended to convey to a community the authentic preaching tradition. 
They belong to another context than literature in the narrower sense*. 

The Gospel of Peter (cf. vol. I, pp. 216ff.) presents a special problem, since 
evidently it is meant to be thought of as composed by Peter. At any rate the 1-style 
points to that conclusion 5 Since however we have only a fragment extant, we must 
be very cautious in our judgment, as also with the Protevangelium Jacobi. The 
correspondence with Abgar is certainly to be described as a forgery. 

b) The group of writings which are brought together in this volume under the title 
of ‘ apostolic ’ also presents a very v aned picture so far as the question of pseudepigraphy 
is concerned. It is indeed a matter of very diverse kinds of text. 

Thus the five great apocryphal acts of apostles are a special form of ‘fictional 
prose narrative’*. By the taking over of sty listic elements from the Greek novel a form 
has been created which has been given some very distinct stamps, but has nothing 
to do with pseudepigraphy or even with ’forgery’ 7 . In these works there are only a 
few places in which the speaker is an ‘I’ or a ’we’ (AJc. 19 c. 60c. 62 c. 110c. 115; 
APt c. 4, c. 21; ATh c. 1). These few passages are of no significance for the question 
of pseudepigraphy, and are probably for the most part traditional material taken over. 
No author’s names have been handed down. Only in the case of API is it attested by 
Tertullian that the author was a presbyter in Asia Minor. Despite the assertion 
repeatedly made that the work was published under Paul’s name, it must be firmly 
stated that the API and also the other major Acts are not pscudepigrapha, but 
anonymous ’romances’. 1 

On the other hand we shall have to regard the Pseudo-Clementines as 
pseudepigraphical. Among the later Acts of apostles also, which cannot be discussed 
in detail here, there are several examples of pseudepigraphy.* They mark the 
transition to the hagiographical literature, in which there were probably many 
forgeries. 10 In regard to this literature it should however be pointed out that it had its 
Sin im Leben in public worship, and therefore certainly links up with older traditions. 
We must accordingly investigate for each text at what stage of the transmission 
process the ‘false* name became attached to it. 

As already said, the pscudepigrapha presented in this section may rightly be so 
described (despite some doubt regarding the Kerygma Petri). We may observe from 



these texts how, from traditions fixed in writing about the apostles and their preaching 
(as in certain gospels and probably also in the Kerygma Petri), a pseudepigraphical 
literature was now formed. 

We need not here discuss the apocalypses. In their case one may probably speak 
of ‘religious pseudepigrapha’ (Speyer)." 

4. Lost Pseudepigrapha: in addition to the texts so far mentioned there are some 
reports of works which perhaps belong in our context, but of which nothing is known 
apart from these brief notices. 

a) Letter of Paul to the Alexandrians. We know of this apocryphon only through 
the statement of the Muratori Canon (line 64: vol. I, p. 36), which rejects this letter, 
as also the Letter to the Laodiceans, as Maicionite. Every further discussion of its 
content or purpose (Hamack: perhaps forged to further Maicionite propaganda in 
Egypt? Marc ion 2 , p. 134*) leads us into the domain of phantasy. The conjectures of 
Th. Zahn ( Gesch. des nil. Kanons H, 2, pp. 586ff.) also cany us no farther. The 
Lectionarium Bobbie rise mentioned there speaks of an epistola Pauli ad Colos., but 
denotes by that a section from a later homily. Cf. Hamack, Gesch. d. altchr. Lit. I, 
1, p. 33; L. Vouaux, LesActes de Paul, 1913, pp. 327-332. 

b) Letter of Paul to the Macedonians. Clement of Alexandria mentions once such 
a letter ‘In this sense the apostle of the Lord also exhorted the Macedonians and 
became an interpreter of the divine word. “The Lord is at hand”, he says, “wherefore 
take care that we be not overtaken empty (in vain)”' ( Protr. IX 87.4; St&hlin P, p. 
65). The citation recalls Phil. 4:5. Since otherwise nothing is known of a Macedonian 
letter of Paul, either free citation or a mistake can be assumed. Cf. Hamack, Gesch. 
d. altchr. Lit. I. 2, p. 788. 

c) Letter ofPeter. In Optatus of Milevis it is said: ‘Since we have read in the Letter 
of the Apostle Peter: “Judge not your brother according to prejudice”’ (de Schism. 
Donat. 1,5; Ziwsa, CSEL 26, p. 7). Hamack conjectures that Optatus combined Jas. 
2:1 and 4:11 and then erroneously attributed this saying to Peter (Gesch. d. altchr. 
Lit. L 2, p. 788). But it is also possible that we are concerned here with acitation from 
some lost apocryphon of Peter about which we can say nothing at all. 

d) A quotation from a letter of John is met with in ps.-Cyprian, de Monti bus Sina 
et Sion, c. 13: Christ ‘ instructs and exhorts us in the letter of his disciple John to the 
people: “So see me in you as one of you sees himself in water or in a minor."’ (Hartel, 
CSEL III, 3, p. 117). Zahn has maintained that we are concerned here with a quotation 
from a letter of John which had belonged to the Acts of John (Forsch. zur Gesch. d. 
nil. Kanons VI, 1900, p. 1%, note 1; literature also there). He refers above all to a 
passage from the hymn of Christ in c. 95 of the Acts of John: ‘A mirror am I to thee 
who perceivest me’ (see p. 183 below). Hennecke (NTApo 2 , p. 172, note 1) has 
recourse to c. 15 of the Acts of Andrew (see p. 133 below) where also a minor is 
spoken of. But these are speculations which cannot be proved Nothing can be learned 
from ps.-Cyprian about an alleged letter of John. Cf. also ScMferdiek, pp. 152f. below. 

e) A Praedicatb Pauli (Homily of Paul) is mentioned in ps.-Cyprian, de 
Rebaptismate 17 (3rd cent.?). This is said to have been forged by heretics to give 
support to their false doctrine: ‘In this book one discovers how Christ, who alone had 
committed no kind of sin, contrary to all (the assertions of) Scripture confessed his 


XTV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

own sins and almost against his own will was constrained by his mother to receive 
the baptism of John. Further (it is related) that when he was baptised, fire appeared 
upon the water, a thing that is written in no Gospel. And after the agreement regarding 
the gospel come to in Jerusalem ami consultation and debate together and after 
arrangements had been made as to what was to be done, after so long a time Peter 
and Paul finally came to know one another in Rome, as it were for the first time. And 
there are some other things of the kind (it is stated), absurd, improper and fictitious, 
all of which are found collected in that book. ’ We shall not here enter into a discussion 
as to which heretics are referred to and as to whether the statement of ps.-Cyprian 
that the Praedicatio Pauli was composed by them is true. That ps.-Cyprian had a 
definite writing before him, seems to me to be certain. It is likewise clear that the 
Praedicatio mentioned here had nothing to do with the Acts of Paul, as Th. Zahn 
supposed ( Gesch. d. ml. Kanons II, 2, p. 881; against that Dobschutz, Das Kerygma 
Petri, p. 127). The statement that Jesus had received the baptism of John only when 
constrained, and that at the time of lus baptism fire was seen upon the water, is 
striking. It has rightly been concluded that here our text is connected with a fragment 
of the Gospel of the Nazaraeans (vol. Ip. 160, no. 2) and another of the Gospel of 
the Ebionites (vol. I, p. 169, no. 3) (cf. Dobschutz, op. cit., pp. 128ff.). A use of two 
different Jewish-Chrisnan Gospels in the Praedicatio Pauli is unlikely. But above all 
hardly more than the possibility of a use of Jewish-Christian Gospels can be made 
out, the basis for more far-reaching hypotheses being in fact too small. The other 
statement that Peter and Paul came to know one another properly only in Rome - 
earlier meetings, it is true, seem according to the text not be altogether excluded (!!) 
- is singular. Here also the short text allows of no far-reaching conclusion. With 
regard also to the composition, content and form of this Praedicatio nothing can be 
said. Only this seems to be certain, that the writing has nothing to do with the 
Kerygma Petri and nothing with the Acts of Paul. 

f) A Praedicatio Petri et Pauli (Homily of Peter and Paul) has been inferred from 
a passage in Lactantius. He writes: ‘And he (sc. Jesus) has revealed to them (sc. the 
disciples) all the future; Peter and Paul have preached this in Rome and this discourse 
of theirs remains in writing for a memorial. In it, besides many other wonderful 
things, it is also said that in the future it would come to pass that after a short time 
God would send a king who would conquer the Jews, make their cities level with the 
ground and besiege them themselves, exhausted by hunger and thirst. Thai it would 
come to pass that they would live on the bodies of their own and consume one another. 
At last they would fall as prisoners into the hands of their enemies and would see 
before their eyes their wives disgracefully ill-treated, their maidens violated and 
deflowered, their youths deported, their small children dashed to the ground. Finally 
everything would be devastated by fire and sword, and they would be exiled for ever 
as prisoners from their own land because they had gloated over the most beloved and 
most acceptable Son of God' (Lact. Divin. Instit. IV 21.2-4; Brandt, CSEL 19. p. 
367.17ff.; Dobschutz, op. cit., p. 132, translates the conclusion: 'over the (reviled) 
most beloved Son of God, in whom he is well pleased’). In Lactantius the text stands 
in the context of the account of the ascension and the command to praedicatio 
evangelii. On this occasion Jesus also revealed the future, and this future is now 
described more closely in traditional apocalyptic traits (in this connection accounts 



of the Jewish War may also be used). But with not a single word does Lac tan ti us say 
that he goes back to a particular writing. In any case all conjectures about such a 
Praedicatio Petri et Pauli are pure hypotheses without support of any kind. Cf. 
DobschUtz, op. cit., pp. 131-134. 

g) A Discourse of Simon Kephas in the City of Rome preserved in Syriac (edited 
by W. Cureton, Ancient Syriac Documents, 1864, pp. 35-41; BHO 936) hardly 
belongs to our context. It is a late work which is doubtless connected with the Acts 
of Peter and has been enriched with all sorts of otter legends about Peter. The 
dogmatic statements in this discourse refer it to the 5th or 6th century. Cf. de Santos, 
below p. 437. 

h) Finally it may be noted that some surviving texts which profess to be apostolic 
letters do not need to be considered more closely here since they belong to another 
context. This holds for the apocryphal correspondence of Paul with the church at 
Corinth (IH Cor.; cf. below, pp. 254ff.) and for the Epistula Petri in the Pseudo- 
Clementines (see below, pp. 493f.). The Epistula Apostolorum (see vol. I, pp. 249ff.) 
and the Epistle of Barnabas also do not belong in the category of the pscudapostolic 



1. Cf. e.g. Speyer, Die lit. False hung, foreword; Brox, Fseudepigraphie, p. 1. 

2. Here we must recall F. Overbeck and his concept of the •primitive literature’, on which 
see vol. I. pp. 52ff. The deficiencies addressed above are especially clear in the treatment 
of the apocryphal apostle Acts (Speyer, Fdisc hung. 2\ Off.) and in the ‘forgeries of heretics 
and schismatics’ (ib.. 260ff.). When Speyer (309) writes: ‘In the Greek East during the sixth 
to eighth centuries forgery quite expressly belonged to the businessof the theologian', that 
is a foolish slip of the pen, which only shows that a good philologist may not also be by any 
means a good historian. 

3. For details see vol. I, pp. 77ff. On the question of the authorship of the Gospels, cf. M. 
Hengel. Die Evangelienuberschriften (SBHAW 1984, 3). 1984. 

4. It is open to doubt whether one can work with the term ‘ religious pseudepigraphy ’. which 
Speyer employs. 

5. Cf. Vielhauer, LU. gesch. 644ff. 

6. N. Holzberg, Der antike Roman, 1986, 29 

7. Against Speyer, Fdlschung, 21 Off. 

8. Against Speyer, loc. cit. On the problem of the subscription with xaxd in the Acts of Paul, 
cf. below, p. 21S. 

9. For the Pseudo-Clementines, see below, pp. 483ff. For the later Acts of apostles, see 
below, pp. 426ff. 

10. On the later forgeries see now the congress volume: H. Fuhrmann (ed.). Fdischungen 
im Mittelalter (Schriften der MGH 26), 5 vols.. 1988. 

11. Cf. on this Vielhauer/Strecker below, pp. 569ff. 


XTV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

1. The Kerygma Petri 

Wilhelm Schneemelcher 


Literature: Texts. E. von DobschUtz, Das Kerygma Petri kritisch untersucht (TU XI. 1), 
1893; E. Klostermann, Apocrypha l. Reste des Petrusevangeliums, der Petrusapokaiypse 
und des Kerygma Petri (KIT 3). 1933, 13-16; M.G. Man, 'll Kerygma Petrou’. Studi e 
Mater tali di Storia delle Religioni 38 (FS Pincherle). Rome 1967, 314-342; English 
translation: James 16-18. 

Studies: Hamack, Lit. gesch. 1,25 ff.; II1,472ff; R. See berg, Die Apologie des Aristides 
(Forach. zur Gesch. des nU. Kanons V. 2). 1893,216-220; E.Hennecke, NTApoHdb, 239- 
247; JJM. Reagan. The Preaching of Peter: The Beginning of Christian Apologetic . Chicago 
1923; G. Quispel and R.M. Grant, 'Note on the Petrine Apocrypha', VigChr 6,1952.31f; 
P. Nautin, *Les citations de la u Pr6dicatk» de Pierre" dans C&nent d'Alexandrie, Strom. 
VI.V. 39-41', JTS NS 25. 1974, 98-105; H. Paulsen. 'Das Kerygma Petri und die 
urchristliche Apologetik*. ZKG 88. 1977, 1-37; W. Rordorf, 'Chrisms als Logos und 
Nomos. Das Kerygma Petri in seincm Verhaltnii zu Justin', in Kerygma und Logos, FS C. 
Andresen, 1979.424-434. 

1. Attestation and time of composition: In Cement of Alexandria we find a 
series of quotations from a writing xr^irypa ntcpov (KP). There can be no doubt 
that Cement regards this work as composed by Peter. Certainly, without expressing 
himself more nearly about the origin, genuineness or any other problem of the 
writing, he quotes from it with the words: 'Peter says in the Kerygma’ or the like. 
Unhappily the contexts in which Cement quotes the writing give only a few clues 
to its composition and origin (cf. below, pp. 35f.). On gen apparently no longer shares 
the high opinion that Cement had of the KP. For in his Commentary on John (XUI 
17) he quotes Heracleon, who had used the KP, but at the same time indicates that 
he is in doubt as to whether it is' genuine, not genuine or mixed’. Origen’s comments 
on this passage (see below, p. 41, note 14) allow it to appear questionable whether 
on the whole he himself had known the KP. It is quite possible that here he merely 
reproduces what he has found in Heracleon. At any rate the KP for him no longer 
belongs to the uncontested sources of Christian tradition. On the other hand it is clear 
from this passage in Origen that the gnostic Heracleon (middle of the 2nd century) 
made use of it, probably in the conviction that the KP was a genuine work of Peter. 
The apologist Aristides seems to have used this work, at least considerable 
connection between his Apology and the KP can be pointed out (cf. R. Seeberg and 
DobschUtz). Despite a number of topological contacts, one cannot speak of 
Theophilus of Antioch ( adAutolyc. 110 and II 2) having quoted or used the KP 1 . It 
is also to be noted that the KP is not named either in Aristides or in Theophilus. In 
Eusebius (HE III 3.2) and Jerome, de Vir. Ill 1) the KP is definitely reckoned to the 
non-canonical writings. 

The attestation and conjectured use of the KP refer this writing to the 2nd century 
and indeed to its first half. DobschUtz sets it between 80 and 140, Paulsen between 
100 and 120. Egypt has doubtless to be accepted as its homeland, even although this 
conjecture is not strictly demonstrable. 


The Kerygma Petri 

2. Title: The title Kr^vwia necpov attested by Clement is probably to be 

understood in the sense that this writing is intended to be a compendium of the 
preaching of Peter, but that probably means, over and above that, a compendium of 
the whole apostolic proclamation. Here is certainly not be be understood 

as actus praedicandi, but is intended to indicate the content: it is a matter of the gospel 
which was preached by Peter, as the representative of the apostolic activity, and 
which mediates salvation. 2 Accordingly the title is interpreted too narrowly when it 
is rendered merely ‘The Missionary Preaching of Peter’ (so Hennecke, NTApo 2 , pp. 
144f.). Rather the title that has been handed down is best translated ‘The Proclama¬ 
tion of Peter*. By that it is not said that the work claimed to be written by Peter, even 
if Clement of Alexandria seems to assume this. But the title says nothing about this. 
It may be that Peter is named in the title merely as authority for the apostolic 
preaching (at any rate he obviously often discoursed in the plural). The apostle as 
guarantor of the true preaching of salvation is an idea also attested elsewhere 3 . On 
the other hand, the possibility that Peter was meant to be regarded as the author is 
of course not to be excluded. From the title nothing further results that in any way 
can have a bearing on a relation to the Gospel of Mark. DobschUtz (op. cit., pp. 68ff.) 
has conjectured that the KP may have been written as a 6eureQOsXoyos to the Gospel 
of Mark. But neither the title nor the contents of the fragments admit such an 

3. Composition and contents: The small amount of extant text makes it almost 
impossible to voice any conjectures about the structure of this work. One can 
probably demonstrate a connection in terms of content between individual frag¬ 
ments. but a coherent text cannot be reconstructed out of this ( contra: Nautin). It is 
also scarcely possible to show the original sequence of the fragments. One may 
conjecture a certain pattern of arrangement, for which there are parallels in early 
Christian literature 4 , but such a hypothesis is not capable of proof. 

For determining the literary Gattung of the KP our meagre text material is 
likewise quite inadequate. Probably this document was a comprehensive presenta¬ 
tion of the ‘preaching’ of Peter (in the sense indicated above). It could have shown 
a certain proximity to the speeches of Acts and to the AGG. but also have taken over 
other forms. Fragment 3b for example can to some extent be interpreted as part of 
adialogue between Jesus and his disciples after the resurrection (cf. vol. I, pp. 228ff). 
But this too is an assumption, for which there is much to be said, but which cannot 
be proved. 

In view of this uncertainty with regard to the original structure and the Gattung 
of the complete KP, it is advisable to attempt an interpretation in terms of content, 
and its location in the history of theology in the 2nd century, only on the basis of the 
individual fragments. Such an interpretation of the several pieces leads however to 
interesting results. 

We may first of all mention the themes with which the KP dealt, according to what 
can be deduced from the fragments. It is a matter of the proclamation of the one God, 
hence of the monotheistic faith (2a). With this is connected the warding-off of 
heathen polytheism (2b) and of the false Jewish worship of God (2c). The Old 
Testament is claimed for the Church (2d and 4a). The originality of Christianity (as 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

a ‘third race’ 5 :2d) is strongly emphasised. From fragment 3b it seems to follow that 
the preaching of the KP goes back to the Lord who appointed the apostles. It is not 
possible to draw out any distinct Christology from these fragments, even though texts 
1,4a and 4b show that this theme probably was not lacking. Finally, warning to 
repentance and paraenesis evidently played a role in this document. 

This catalogue of themes, as already noted, is not intended to be a table of contents 
of the original text of the KP, but simply to indicate the questions which concerned 
the author (and probably also his community). With this the problem of the position 
of the KP within the history of theology in the 2nd century now comes into view. 
DobschUtz, who has given a detailed commentary on the fragments (op. cit., 27-64), 
was of opinion that the document ‘marks the transition from the early Christian to 
the apologetic literature' (op. cit., 66). This characterisation, taken over by me in 
NTApo 3 n, 96f., has in the interval been comprehensively confirmed by the work of 
Paulsen and Rordorf. We need here only to emphasise that the KP is to be understood 
as a combination of ideas which also occur in the New Testament (e.g. IThess. l:9f.; 
Rom. 1:18ff.; Acts 17) with elements which derive from Jewish apologetic. It cannot 
be regarded as an apology in the sense of the later Greek apologists of the 2nd century, 
even though the development in that direction is already marked. The KP is however 
evidence that we cannot, as so often happens, assume a radical breach between 
primitive Christian theology and preaching on the one hand and the apologists on the 
other, but must reckon with connecting lines of many kinds. The significance of the 
KP seems to lie in the fact that here we have a middle term in the preaching tradition 
between the early Christian missionary preaching, which has left traces for example 
in Acts, and the Greek apologetic. It is the more regrettable that so few fragments 
of this important document have survived. 

4. The Kerygma Petri and other apocryphal writings: Attempts have been 
made to enlarge the number of the fragments of the KP by adding to them some other 
assumed quotations from this work. Thus in the prologue to his dr Principiis 
(preserved only in a Latin translation) Origen mentions a doctrina Petri: 

And if any one should confront us with (a section) from that book which is called 
the ‘Doctrine of Peter’, in which the Saviour seems to say to the disciples: ‘I am 
not a bodiless daemon ’. then the answer must be given him, in the first place, that 
this book is not included among the books of the Church, and further it must be 
pointed out that this writing comes neither from Peter nor from any other person 
inspired by the Spirit of God. (Orig. de Princ praef. 8) 

Now in the first place it is remarkable that here Origen rejects the work named 
by him much more decisively than he does in his Commentary on John. Further, the 
question must evidently be asked whether doctrina in the translation of Rufinus 
actually renders the word xqgirflia or whether bi&aoxaXia is not rather to be 
regarded as its Greek equivalent, and whether therefore a writing other than the KP 
is meant here. Finally, the cited word of Jesus has also been handed down elsewhere: 
from Ignatius (Snym 3.1 f.) it reached Eusebius, and Jerome - wrongly - ascribed it 
to a Jewish-Christian Gospel (cf. Vielhauer, vol. I, pp. 143f.). All this makes it very 


The Kerygma Petri 

questionable whether here Origen actually refers to the KP.‘ 

The problem is further complicated by the fact that there may possibly have 
been such a docirina Petri. Certainly in Gregory of Nazianzus and in John of 
Damascus we come upon quotations from a bibaaxaXia nexpcru. Gregory of 
Nazianzus twice quotes a logion: 

God is near a soul that toils and moils. (Gregory Naz. Ep. 20; Or. 17.5) 

In Ep. 20 he adds to this word: ‘Peter says somewhere in an admirable way’. 
Elias of Crete (12th cent.), in commenting cm this passage, suggests that it comes 
from the 6t6axaXia nftQou (PG 36, 395). Now we cannot do much with this 
‘beautiful, pithy dictum’ (Dobschlitz, p. 109), and the suggestion of Elias of Crete 
affords us no further help, since it is not to be assumed that he was at all acquainted 
with the work which he mentions. To judge then by this quotation, it cannot be 
said whether the saying belongs to the KP or whether there was a doctrina Petri 
and the sentence comes from it. 

In the Sacra Parallela of John of Damascus there are two passages which are 
ascribed in the lemmata to a 6i6axaXia ritrtQou: 

1, unhappy one, did not reflect that God sees the heart and has regard to the voice 
of the soul. I consented to sin, saying to myself: God is merciful and will suffer 
me; and since I was not struck at once, I did not discontinue but still more despised 
the forgiveness and exhausted the patience of God. (Joh. Dam. in Holl, TU 20.2, 
1899, p. 234, no. 502.) 

Rich is that man who has compassion on many and who in imitation of God gives 
of what he has. For God has given to all all of that which he has made. Understand 
then (ye) rich men that ye must serve since ye have received more than ye 
yourselves need. Learn that others lack what ye have in abundance. Be ashamed 
to retain other people's property. Imitate God’s equity, and no one will be poor. 
(Holl, op. cit., p. 234, no. 503) 

Now these two texts are so general - they are exhortations to repentance such as 
are frequently met with in Christian literature - that it would hardly be possible to 
assign them to some one particular work. DobschUtz (op. cit., pp. 110-121) has 
conjectured that they come from a writing of Peter of Alexandria. This hypothesis 
is, however, just as undemonstrable as the one that the doctrina Petri mentioned here 
is to be identified with the KP of Clement of Alexandria. 


1. a) In the ‘Preaching of Peter’ we find the Lord called Law and Word (Logos). 
(Clem. Alex. Strom. I 29.182) 

b) In the ‘Preaching’ Peter called the Lord Law and Word (Logos). (Clem. AJcx. 
Strom, n 15.68) 

c) The Lord himself is called Law and Word (Logos), as Peter says in the 


XIV Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

‘Preaching’ and Che prophet: ‘ For out of Zion will the Law go forth and the Word from 
Jerusalem*. (Clem. Alex. Eel. proph. 58). 7 

2. a) And that the most notable of the Greeks know (about) God not by positive 
knowledge, but (only) by roundabout expression. Peter says in the ‘Preaching’: 

Recognize now that there is one God who created the beginning of all things 
and who has the power to set an end;' 


the Invisible who sees all things; the Incomprehensible who comprehends 
all things; the One who needs nothing, of whom all things stand in need and 
for whose sake they are; the Inconceivable, the Everlasting, the Imperishable, 
the Uncreated, who has made all things by the word of his power 10 (from the 
gnostic writing], that is his Son. 11 

2. b) Then he proceeds: 

Worship not this God in the manner of the Greeks; 

by which it is obviously said that the notables among the Greeks also worship the 
same God as we, but not with perfect knowledge since they have not learned to know 
what was delivered by the Son. Therefore he says: ‘Worship not!’ He does not say: 
'the God whom the Greeks (worship), but ‘(worship) not in the manner of the Greeks'. 
In doing so he gives another direction to the way of worshipping God, but does not 
proclaim another (God). What now ‘not in the manner of the Greeks’ means, Peter 
himself makes clear, adding: 

For actuated by ignorance and not knowing God [as we do according to the 
perfect knowledge] 12 they have fashioned into figures that over which he has 
given them the power of disposal for use, (namely) stocks and stones, brass and 
iron, gold and silver, and <forgetting> 13 their material and use, have set up and 
worshipped (as gods) that which should have served them as subsistence. That 
also which God has given than for food, the fowls of the air and the fishes of 
the sea, the creeping things of the earth with the four-footed beasts of the field, 
weasels and mice, cats, dogs and apes; and that which should serve than as 
food they sacrifice to (animals) that can be eaten up; and offering what is dead 
to the dead as though they were gods, they are unthankful toward God since 
thereby they deny his existence. 14 

2. c) And since he thinks that we ourselves and the Greeks know the same God, 
although not in the same way, he adds the following: 


The Kerygma Petri 

Neither worship him in the manner of the Jews; for they also, who think that 
they alone know God, do not understand, worshipping angels and archangels, 
the months and the moon. 13 And when the moon does not shine, they do not 
celebrate die so-called first Sabbath, 16 also they do not celebrate the new moon 
or the feast of unleavened bread or the feast (of Tabernacles) or the great day 
(of atonement). 

2. d) He then inserts the keystone to his own inquiry: 

Learn then, ye also, holily and righteously what we deliver to you and keep 
it, worshipping God through Christ in a new way. For we have found in the 
Scriptures, how the Lord says: ‘Behold, I make with you a new covenant, not 
as I made (one) with your fathers in Mount Horeb. ’ 17 A new one has he made 
with us. For what has reference to the Greeks and Jews is old. But we are 
Christians, who as a third race worship him in a new way. (Clem. Alex. Strom. 
VI 5.39-41). 

3. a) For that reason Peter records that the Lord had said to the disciples: 

If now any one of Israel wishes to repent and through my name to believe 
in God, his sins will be forgiven him. 11 And after 12 years go ye out into the 
world that no one may say, ‘We have not heard it* (Clem. Alex. Strom. VI 

3. b) To adduce an example: In the ‘Preaching of Peter' the Lord says to his 
disciples after the resurrection: 

I have chosen you twelve” because I judged you worthy to be my 
disciples [whom the Lord wished]. 20 And I sent them, of whom I was 
persuaded that they would be true apostles, into the world to proclaim to 
men in all the world the joyous message 21 that they may know that there 
is (only) one God, and to reveal what future happenings there would be 
through faith in me [Christ], 22 to the end that those who hear and believe 
may be saved; 23 and that those who believe not may testify that they have 
heard it and not be able to excuse themselves saying, ‘We have not heard.’ 
(Clem. Alex. Strom. VI 6.48). 

3. c) But concerning all reasonable souls it has been said from the beginning: All 
sins which any one [of you] 24 has committed in ignorance, because he did not know 
God accurately, will be forgiven him if he comes to know (God) and repents. 23 (Gem. 
Alex. Strom. VI 6.48) 

4. a) Wherefore Peter also in the ‘Preaching’ speaks about the apostles as follows: 


XTV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

But we opened the books of the prophets 26 which we had, which partly 
in parables, partly in enigmas, partly with certainty and in clear words name 
Christ Jesus, and found his coming, his death, his crucifixion and all the rest 
of the tortures which the Jews inflicted on him, his resurrection and his 
assumption to heaven before the foundation of Jerusalem, 27 how all was 
written that he had to suffer and what would be after him. 2 * Recognising this, 
we believed God in consequence of what is written of (in reference to) him. 

4. b) And somewhat later he adds the following, stating that the prophecies have 
taken place through the divine providence: 

For we recognise that God enjoined them, and we say nothing apart from 
Scripture. (Clem. Alex. Strom. 15.128). 


1. The Kerygma Petri 

1. Cf. Paulsen, op. ciL. 12. 

2. On xnpvypa cf. G. Friedrich, art xf|pv£ etc., in TDNT III 683ff. (supplement to 
literature in X/2, 1138 of German edition (supplement). 

3. On the AGO cf. below pp. 75ff.; on the apocalypses cf. K. Berger, ‘Unfehlbare 
Offer)barung Petrus in der gnostischen und apokalyptischen Offenbarungsliteratur', in FS 
Mustner 1981. 261-326. 

4. Cf. Paulsen, op. ciL, 4ff„ who however rightly formulates his theses very cautiously. It 
may be noted here that the numbering and therefore also the sequence of the fragments is 
variously handled. 

Dobschutz/Mara Klostermann Dobachutz/Mara Klosiermann 

1 1 VI 1 

Paulsen takes over Klostermann's numbering, but subdivides the texts and arranges them 
as follows: 

3b (1) 

3a 2a 

3c 2b 

4 2c 


1 take over Paulsen's refinement of Klostermann's numbering, but adhere to the latter's 

3. Cf. on this Paulsen, op. cit. pp. 20f. 

6.1 take no notice at all of the passages Ongen. Hom.Xm Lev. and Optatus Mil. de Schism. Dona:. 
I5.discussedinDobschatz.op.dL, pp. 84-105. They have certainly nothing to do with the KP. 


The Kerygma Petri 

7. Cf. U. 2:3. On the importance of this passage in early Christian theology see Rordorf. op. 
ciL, 423; Paulsen, op. ciL. 24f. 

8. Cf. with this Ckm. Alex. Strom. VI 7.58: ‘For truly one is God who created the beginning 
of all things, writes Peter, referring (thereby) to the first-born Son, since he accurately 
understands the word: In the beginning God created die heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1).’ 
Clement here is probably quoting the same passage from the KP as in text 2a adduced above. 

9. Whether this ’and* should be ascribed to the KP or to Clement remains questionable; cf. 
Nautin op. cit, 103f. 

10. Cf. Heb. 1:3. 

11. The text of this passage is much discussed (cf. Stkhlin-Frflchtel, App. ad loc.; Nautin, 
op. cit. 103; Paulsen, op. cit., 22, note 141; Rordorf, op. cit, 427ff.). Nautin’s proposal, to 
delete the bracketed words as an interpolated gloss, is plausible. The interpretation of the 
content in Rordorf, who refers especially to the parallel in Justin (Dial. 61.1), speaks in 
favour of the above version. 

12. [as we... knowledge]: regarded by Klostermann and me (NTApo* II99) as an addition 
by Clement which is contested by Nautin, op. cit, 304. 

13. Stlhlin’s conjecture. 

14. It is very questionable whether Theophilus of Antioch (ad Autol. 110 and II2) refers to 
this passage; see above, p. 34. On the other hand Origen's report of the use of the KP by 
Heracleon relates to it Origen writes (Comm. inJoh. XIII17): 'Now there is much to adduce 
from the words quoted by Heracleon from the so-called Preaching of Peter, and regarding 
them inquiry has to be made concerning the book, whether it is genuine or not genuine or 
mixed. But for that very reason we would willingly pass it by and merely refer to the fact 
that it states that Peter taught: (God) should not be worshipped in the manner of the Greeks, 
who take material things and serve stocks and stones. Also the Divine ought not to be 
worshipped in the manner of the Jews, for they, who believe that they alone know God, rather 
do not know him and worship angels, the month and the moon.' 

15. Cf. Gal. 4:10; Col. 2:16,18. 

16. The expression ‘first Sabbath' is unusual, and its interpretation debated. Nautin (op. cit., 
105) suggests the following: Tls ne cdldbrent pas le sabbat, qu’ils disent 4tre la premiere 
chose (le cdlibrcr).' Rordorf (op. cit.. 427) considers this 'a proposal worthy of considera¬ 
tion'. But it can scarcely be proved from the text. Cf. also Paulsen, op. ciL, 17, note 5. 

17. Cf. Jer. 31 (38):31f.; Deut 29:1; Heb. 8:8-9. 

18. Cf. Lk. 24:47; Acts 5:31; 10:43. 

19. Cf. Lk. 6:13; Jn. 6:70. 

20. [whom the Lord wished]: an addition by Clement 

21. CT.ML lOJfT. 

22. To be deleted. 

23. Cf. Rom. 10:14f. 

24. [of you] probably does not belong to the KP; cf. Paulsen, op. ciL, 32. 

25. Cf. Acts 3:17; 17:30. 

26. Cf. 1 PeL 1:10-12. 

27. Instead of 'foundation' some would read 'destruction' or ‘judgment’. Against this: 
Mara, op. ciL, 342; Paulsen, op. cit., 12; Rordorf, op. ciL, pp. 430f. An eschatological 
interpretation of the transmitted text is perfectly possible. 

28. Cf. 1 PeL 1:11. 

XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

2. The Epistle to the Laodiceans 

Wilhelm Schneemelcher 


I. Literature: R. Anger, Qber den Laodicenerbrief. Eine biblisch-kritische Untersuchung, 
1843; J.B. Lightfoot, St Pants Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, 1879.274-300; 
E. Jacquier, Le nouveau Testament dans I'iglise chritienne 1.1911. 345-331; L. Vouaux. 
LesActesde Paulettes lettresapocryphes, 1913,315-326; A. von Harnack, Apocrypha IV. 
Die apokryphen Briefe des Paulas an die Laodicener und Korinther (KIT 12). 1931*; id., 
Marcion. Das Evangelium vom fremden Gott, 1924 1 , 134‘-149*; K.Pink, ‘Die 
pseudopaulinischen Briefe U'.Biblica 6,1925,179-192; John Knox, Marcion andtheNew 
Testament ,Chicago 1942; G. Quispel, *De Brief aan die Laodicensen - een Marcionitiacbe 
vervalsing'. Nederlands Theologisch TijdschriftS . 1950,43-46; Erbetta, UL 63-67; Moreldi 

II. 1719-1726 and 1733-1738. 

2. Attestation and tradition: in the Muratori Canon (cf. vol. I, p. 36) two 
Marcionite forgeries, an epistle to the Laodiceans and one to the Alexandrians, are 
mentioned and rejected. Apart from the suggestion that these books were ‘forged in 
Paul’s name for the sect of Marcion’ (lines 64f.), the passage provides no sent of clue 
to any closer identification of this epistle. TertuIlian reports ( adv. Marc. V 11 and 
17) that the heretics, i.e. the Marcionites, regarded Ephesians as the Epistle to the 
Laodiceans and that Marcion himself had made this change in the title. This note is 
confirmed to some extent by Epiphanius of Salarms ( Haer. 42.9.4 and 42.12.3), who, 
it is true, gives no clear information as to whether the source which he copies here 
(Hippolytus) recognised Ephesians as the Epistle to the Laodiceans or whether in 
addition to Ephesians an Epistle to the Laodiceans also stood in the Marcionite canon. 
Filastrius {Haer. LXXXDC), who briefly mentions the Epistle to the Laodiceans in 
the context of his discussion of Hebrews, likewise goes no farther. Other references 
(assembled in Pink, op. cit.) also contribute little to our knowledge of the Epistle to 
the Laodiceans. The so-called Speculum (ps.-Augustine. de Divinis Scripturis, 5th 
or 6th century) is unambiguous: here verse 4 of the Epistle to the Laodiceans 
preserved in Latin is quoted (CSEL 12, 516); Gregory the Great must also be 
reckoned among the positive witnesses for this epistle handed down in Latin 
{Moralia 35.20.48; PL 76,778C). 

This Latin Epistle to the Laodiceans is found in many Bible manuscripts 1 , and 
was evidently widely disseminated in the West. There was also a series of translations 
into western vernaculars. 2 Whether a Slavonic version existed is very doubtful. 2 This 
is regrettable, since the existence of a Slavonic version would indicate that the 
letter ‘was also at home in the Byzantine east’ (de Santos). But so far no evidence 
has been found of a Greek text. On the other hand, later Greek sources speak of 
an epistle to the Laodiceans (cf. the compilation in Pink, op. cit.), so that we must 
at least assume that the existence of such an epistle was known in the East. The 
epistle probably came into being in the West (despite verse 5, the corrupt text of 
which may perhaps be remedied through translation back into Greek). 


The Epistle to the Laodiceans 

3. Content, occasion, date: when we consider this small apocryphon, we are 
amazed that it ever found a place in Bible manuscripts. For this pretended epistle 
of Paul is nothing other than a ‘worthless patching together of Pauline passages 
and phrases, mainly from the Epistle to the Philippians' (Knopf-Krtlger, Apokr 
2, p. 130). A suggestive statement of its contents can scarcely be given, and we 
seek in vain for a definite theological intention. The author seems to have gathered 
verses from Paul’s epistles, worded in as general terms as possible, that with his 
patch-work he might close a gap in the Pauline corpus, which could indeed be 
noticed by any Bible reader. There can be no doubt that Col. 4:16 was the occasion 
of this forgery. There it is said: ‘Ami when this letter has been read among you, 
have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and have the one from Laodicea 
come to you that you may read it also.' Here we do not need to inquire more closely 
what is to be understood by the fau-cnoXf| bt Aaodtxaos, What still lies nearest 
at hand is that Paul refers to a letter to Laodicea which, however, has not come 
into the Pauline corpus. This want was to be met by the elaborate work of an 
unknown person who had a knowledge of the Bible, but in other respects had not 
exactly had a theological training. 

The dating of the Epistle to the Laodiceans is difficult for the reason that it 
depends on the question of the identity of this apocryphon with the one mentioned 
in the Muratori Canon, and this again is closely connected with the problem of its 
Marcionite derivation. Either the Muratori Canon means the Epistle to the Ephesians, 
the name of which was changed by Marcion into the Epistle to the Laodiceans (so 
Tertullian) - that, however, is unlikely, since Ephesians is mentioned in the Muratori 
Canon - or it had actually in view a separate Epistle to the Laodiceans, and then it 
must be the Latin Epistle to the Laodiceans that has come down to us, if we are not 
to assume several pseudo-Pauline letters to Laodicea. Certainly the Latin Epistle to 
the Laodiceans shows no sort of Marcionite character such as ought to be expected 
according to the statement of the Muratori Canon. 

4. The problem or the Marcionite derivation of the Epistle to the Laodiceans: 
Whilst for a long time it was widely agreed that the Epistle to the Laodiceans was 
a colourless and dull compilation of Pauline sentences, A. von Hamack put forward 
the thesis that the Epistle is a Marcionite forgery: ‘In the Epistle to the Laodiceans 
we salute the only complete writing which has been preserved to us from the 
Marcionite church of the earliest time’ ( Marcion \ p. 149*). Hamack would like to 
see the ‘irrefutable’ proof of that in the fact that the Epistle to the Laodiceans begins 
with Gal. 1:1, i.e. with ‘monumental, anticatholic words in Marcion’s sense’ (p. 141 *) 
from the epistle which stood at the head of the Marcionite apostolos. In the departure 
from Phil. 1:3 (gratias ago deo meo; Ep. to the Laodiceans verse 3: Christo), in the 
idea of veritas evangelii and in the addition quod a me praedicatur (verse 4), in the 
ex me (= oi 6vre? &£ &po0; in Phil. 1:12 we read td xax’ £pi), in the elimination 
of the dnouoiaofPhil. 2:12 in Laod. verse 10 and in the twice-repeated appearance 
of vita aeterna (verses 3 and 10) Hamack sees the sagacity and the artfulness of 
Marcion at work. The Ep. to the Laodiceans must however have come not from the 
master himself but from a pupil who, between 160 and 190, after the title ‘Epistle 
to the Laodiceans' had again become free (Ephesians had been given back its early 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

name), produced it simultaneously in Latin and Greek. From the same workshop 
there also came the Marc ionite Arguments on the Epistles of Paul. 

Now the hypothesis of the Marcionite character of the Prologues to Paul is just 
as problematic as that of the antimarcionite Prologues to the Gospels. 4 That the 
Roman church unknowingly took over Marcion ’ s Prologues to Paul into its ‘counter¬ 
canon’ (so de Bntyne and Hamack) is indeed scarcely conceivable. But hoe it can 
be left aside; it merely shows us on how precarious ground Hamack’s construction 
stands. Anyhow, it has of itself no convincing power. The passages add u ced can be 
drawn upon only with violence as strict proof of a Marcionite origin of the Ep. to the 
Laodiceans. That the Marcionite forger - it certainly cannot have been the master 
himself - satisfied himself with such trifles and did not use the opportunity to give 
clearer expression to his theology does not speak for his ‘sagacity’. Further, from the 
fact that the epistle begins with Gal. 1:1 no far-reaching conclusions can be drawn. 
Hamack has here got on to a wrong track. 

G. Quispel op. cit. has recently taken up Hamack’s hypothesis and attempted to 
support it from another side. He thinks that the beginning of the Ep. to the Laodiceans 
( = Gal. 1:1) answers to a stylistic expedient that was conventional in antiquity: in 
literary counterfeits it was made clear to the readers and hearers through the opening 
words which model was to be imitated. The beginning of the Ep. to the Laodiceans 
ought then to draw the reader’s attention to the fact that really there speaks here the 
Paul who - according to Marcion - had expounded in Galatians the decisive points 
of his theology. Consequently we should here have a case similar to the one in Jn. 
1:1, where also a connection is intentionally made with Gen. 1:1. But this reasoning 
also may hardly carry conviction. For the Ep. to the Laodiceans does not purpose to 
be a rhetorical performance, and the author had obviously no literary ambitions. Too 
much honour is done the author of this paltry and carelessly compiled concoction 
when we judge him by the yardstick of ancient literary practices. 

To sum up, it may be said that the Marcionite origin of the Latin Epistle to the 
Laodiceans is an hypothesis that can neither be proved nor sustained. It is rather a 
clumsy forgery, the purpose of which is to have in the Pauline corpus the Epistle to 
the Laodiceans mentioned in Col. 4:16. Whether the Epistle to the Laodiceans 
mentioned in the Muratori Canon is identical with this apocryphon remains 
unsettled. With that the possibility of an accurate dating also falls out. As the time of 
composition there comes into question the period between the 2nd century and the 4th 

* To the Laodiceans 

1. Paul, an apostle not of men ami not through man, but through Jesus 
Christ, to the brethren who are in Laodicea: 2. Grace to you and peace from God 
the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ 3.1 thank Christ in all my prayer that you 
are steadfast in him and persevering in his works, in expectation of the promise 
for the day of judgment. 4. And may you not be deceived by the vain talk of 
some people who tell (you) tales that they may lead you away from the truth 
of the gospel which is proclaimed by me. 5. And now may God grant that those 
who come from me for the furtherance of the truth of the gospel (...) may 

The Epistle to the Laodiceans 

be able to serve ami to do good works for the well-being of eternal life. 6. 
And now my bonds are manifest, which I suffer in Christ, on account of 
which I am glad and rejoke. 7. This ministers to me unto eternal salvation, 
which (itself) is effected through your prayers and by the help of the Holy 
Spirit, whether it be through life or through death. 8. For my life is in Christ 
and to die is joy (to me). 9. And this will his mercy work in you, that you 
may have the same love and be of one mind. 10. Therefore, beloved, as you 
have heard in my presence, so hold fast and do in the fear of God, and 
eternal life will be your portion. 11. For it is God who works in you. 12. And 
do without hesitation what you do. 13. And for the rest, beloved, rejoice in 
Christ and beware of those who are out for sordid gain. 14. May all your 
requests be manifest before God, and be ye stedfast in the mind of Christ. 
15. And what is pure, true, proper, just and lovely, do. 16. And what you 
have heard and received, hold in your heart and peace will be with you. [ 17. 
Salute all the brethren with the holy kiss.] 18. The saints salute you. 19. The grace 
of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit 20. And see that this epistle is read 
to the Colossians and that of the Colossians among you. 


2. The Epistle to the Laodiceans 

1. Cf. among others Jacquier, op. cit. 1, 345ff.; S. Berger, Histoire de la vulgate, 34If. We 
cannot enter here into the question whether Laod. is one of the Old Latin elements by which 
the Vulgate tradition has in various ways been contaminated. Cf. H J. Frede, Einleitung zu 
Vetus Latina, vol. 24/2 (esp. pp. 301-303); B. Fischer, Lateinische Bibelhandschriften im 
frOhen Mittelalter (Aus der Geschichte der lateinischen Bibel 11), 1985. 

2. Cf. Anger, op. cit. and Lightfoot, op. cit. 

3. Cf. de Santos, Oberlieferung I. 147f. 

4. Cf. E. Haenchen. Die Apostelgeschichte, 1961 \ 8. note 3 (ET Acts, 1971,10, note 1); J. 
Regul. Die antimarkionitischen Evangelienprologe (Aus der Geschichte der lateinischen 
Bibel 6). 1969. 

To the Laodiceans 

• The numbers of the notes refer to the verses of the Epistle. 

1. Gal. 1:1. 

2. Gal. 1:3; Phil. 1:2. 

3. Phil. 1:3. 

4. Cf.Col. 2:4; Gal. 1:11. 

5. Verse 5 has been corrupted in transmission; the tnnslatior rests on conjecture; cf. Phil 1:12 

6. Phil. 1:13, 18. 

7. Phil l:19f. 

8. Phil. 1:21. 

9. Phil. 2:2. 

10. Phil. 2:12. 

11. Phil. 2:13. 

12. Cf. Phil. 2:14. 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

13. Cf. Phil. 3:1. 

14. Phil. 4:6; cf. 1 Cor. 15:58; 2:16. 

17. Lacking in some MSS; doubtless a secondary addition; 1 Thess. 5:26. 

18. PhiL 4:22. 

19. Phil. 4:23; Gal. 6:18. 

20. The words ‘this epistle' and ‘to the Colossians' are lacking in some MSS; cf. Col. 4:16. 

3. The Correspondence between Seneca and Paul 

Cornelia Romer 


1. Literature: (a) Editions: C.W. Bartow, EpistoUu Senecae ad Paulum el Pauli ad 
Senecam <quae vocantur> (Papers and Monographs of the American Academy in Rome X), 
Rome 1938. Reprint of this text in PL Suppl. 1, 673-678. New edition with copious 
commentary and bibliography by L. Bocciolini Palagi, II carte ggio apocrifo di Seneca e San 
Paolo (Accademia toscana di scienze e leaere La Colombaria', Studi XLVI). Florence 
1978; with updated commentary and list of literature by the same authoress in the series 
‘Bibliotheca Patristics', Florence 1985. 

(b) There is a complete list of literature down to 1938 on the theme ‘Seneca and 
Christianity* in J. HauBleiter, Burs tans Jahresbericht fiber die Fortschritte der klass. 
Altertumswiss. 281, 1943, 172-175. Thereafter A. Kurfess, ‘Der Brand Roms und die 
Christenverfolgung im Jahre 64 n. Chr.', Mnemosyne 3.Ser. 6,1938,261-272; H. Leclercq, 
‘Slnfeque et Paul’, DACL 15/1,1950. cols. 1193-1198; A. Momigliano, ‘La leggenda del 
cristianesimo di Seneca', Rivista storica italiana 62, 1950, 325-344; E. Franceschini, ‘Un 
ignoto codice delie Epistole Senecae et Pauli', Mtlanges J. de Ghellinck 1,1951,149-197; 
A. Kurfess. *Zu dem apokryphen Brief wechse) zwischen dem Philosophen Seneca and dem 
Apostel Paulus*. Aevum 26,1952,42-48; J.N. Sevenster, Paul and Seneca. Leiden 1961; W. 
Trillitzsch, Seneca im literarischen Urteil der Antike 1, Amsterdam 1971. 170-185. 

2. Content and origin: The fourteen letters profess to be a private correspond¬ 
ence between the philosopher and the apostle. In them the two personalities exchange 
compliments and manifestations of friendship with one another. The Pauline letters, 
which Seneca is said to have shown to the emperor Nero, also come under discussion. 
The philosopher censures the style of these letters. 

In general the content of the letters may be described as meagre. A certain place 
apart is occupied by the eleventh letter, which in dealing with the burning of Rome 
and the persecution of the Christians evidently goes back to a historical source not 
known to us. The philosophy of the two outstanding personalities of their time does 
not find expression in a single sentence. 

Despite this meagre content, the letters were of great importance for the legend 
which brought Seneca into connection with Christianity. Down to the beginning of 
the Renaissance they were regarded as genuine. Today die 4th century A.D. is 
generally assumed to be the period of their origin. In favour of this are not only 
linguistic and stylistic considerations (on which see E. Lidnhard in Revue beige de 


The Correspondence between Seneca and Paul 

philologie et efhistoire 11, 1932, 5-32). but above all the mention of the 
correspondence by Jerome in 392 (de Vir. III. 12, see below), whereas it is clear 
from the Divinae instirutiones of Lactantius (VI 24.13-14) of the year 324 that 
these letters did not yet lie before him. 

It must remain an open question whether we owe the correspondence to some 
exercise in a rhetorical school (Barlow, 91-92). Certainly all the letters came into 
being about the same time (against this: A. Kurfess, Zeitschrift f. Religions - u. 
Geistesgeschichte 2,1949/50,67-70), the eleventh letter probably a little later than 
the rest (L. Bocciolini Palagi pp. 35-47). 

The origins of the manuscript tradition available to us can be traced back to the 
5th century (the oldest codex derives from the 9th century). The great quantity of the 
manuscripts presents numerous variants and corruptions, so that some passages even 
today are not certainly cleared up (letter VHT). 

3. Witnesses, from which it emerges that people had no doubt of the authenticity 
of the letters. - All the testimonies down to the 13th century are printed in Barlow 
(110-112). In most manuscripts the passage from Jerome’s de Vir. III. 12 (of the year 
392) stands as an introduction to the letters: “Lucius Annaeus Seneca from Cordoba, 
disciple of the Stoic Sotion and uncle of the poet Lucan, lived a very abstemious life. 
I would not receive him into the list of the saints were I not made to do so by those 
epistles which are read by very many, (the epistles) of Paul to Seneca and of Seneca 
to Paul. In these epistles he who was the teacher of Nero and the most influential man 
of his time declares that he wishes to occupy among his own people the same place 
that Paul had among the Christians. This (Seneca) was put to death by Nero two years 
before the glorious martyrdom of Peter and Paul.’ 

We may mention further Augustine, Ep. CLIH 14 (CSEL 44, p. 412); Pseudo- 
Linus, Passio Sancti Pauli apostoli (Bonnet, Aa I, p. 24); Alcuin, dedicatory poem 
in his edition of the letters (PL 101.1375C); Peter Abelard, Sermo XXTV (PL 178, 
535D) and often; Peter of Cluny, Tractatus adversus Petrobrusianos (PL 189.737C); 
Petrarch, AdAnnaeum Sene cam, Fam. 24.5.25. From the 15th century people began 
to doubt the authenticity of the letters. 

New aspects for the whole discussion could result from a ‘Letter of the high priest 
Annas to the philosopher Seneca’, recently published by B. Bischoff. The corre¬ 
spondence between Seneca and Paul could have originated as a counterblast to this 
letter of a Jewish author, likewise to be regarded as fictitious, with the aim of making 
the philosopher appear in association with a representative of the Christian faith (so 
B. Bischoff, ‘Der Brief des Hohenpriesters Annas an den Philosophen Seneca - eine 
jUdisch-apologetische Missionsschrift (Vertes Jahrhundert?)', inAnecdota novissima. 
Texte des vierten bis sechzehnten Jahrhunderts, 1984, 1-9, esp. p. 5). 


Seneca greets Paul 

I believe, Paul, that you have been informed as to what we discussed 
yesterday with our Lucilius 1 regarding the hidden things and other matters. For 
certain friends of your teachings were with me. We had withdrawn into the 


XTV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

gardens of Sallust, 2 where those people of whan I have just spoken, although 
they were gang elsewhere, seized the opportunity of our presence and 
joined us when they saw us. Certainly we longed for your presence, and I wish 
you to know this; after we had read your little bode, that is, some letters out of 
many which you have directed to sane city a chief town of a province and 
which contain wonderful exhortations to the moral life, we woe greatly 
refreshed. These sentiments, I think, woe not spoken by you, but through you, 3 
although certainly at some time (both) by you 4 and through you. So great is the 
majesty of these things, and they shine with such a generosity, that I think that 
generations of men would scarce suffice to be instructed and perfected in them. 
Brother, I wish you prosperity. 


Paul greets Annaeus Seneca 

I was happy to receive your letter yesterday. I could have answered it at once 
if I had had the young man at hand whan I intended to send to you. You well 
know when and through whom, at what time and to whom something ought 
to be given for transmission. I beg you therefore not to think yourself neglected, 
while I have regard to the trustworthiness of the person. But since you write 
that you are somewhat taken with my letters, I count myself happy in the 
judgment of so great a man. For you, the censor, philosopher and teacher of so 
great a prince and indeed of all, would not say this except because you are 
speaking the truth. I wish you long prosperity. 


Seneca greets Paul 

I have arranged some scrolls ami set them in order corresponding to their 
divisions. These I also intend to read to the emperor. If only fortune smiles, that 
he shows new interest, perhaps you also will be present; if not, I shall name a 
day for you at another time, that we may look into this wok together. Also I 
could not read that writing to him unless I first conferred with you, if only it 
could have been done with impunity. This that you may know that you are not 
being passed over. Farewell, most beloved Paul. 


Paul greets Annaeus Seneca 

As often as I hear your letters, I think that you are present, and imagine 
nothing other than that you are always with us. As soon then as you come, 
we shall see one another, and that at close quarters. I wish you prosperity. 


The Correspondence between Seneca and Paul 


Seneca greets Paul 

We are distressed by your all too long staying away. What is it? What keeps 
you away? If it is the displeasure of the empress 3 because you have departed 
from the ancient rite and belief (of Judaism) and become a convert elsewhere, 
there will be opportunity to convince her that this was (tone from deliberation 
and not from levity. Farewell. 


Paul greets Seneca and Lucilius 

Regarding the things which you write to me, it is not right to express oneself 
with pen and ink 6 - of which the one notes and designs something, the other 
shows it clearly - especially since I know that there are among you, that is with 
you and in your midst, those who understand me. Respect is to be shown to all, 
the more so when they strain after opportunity to express their displeasure. If 
we have patience with them, we shall overcome them in every way and in 
every respect, if only they are people who know penitence for their former 
life. Farewell. 


Annaeus Seneca greets Paul and Theophilus 7 

I confess that I was much taken with the reading of your letters which you 
sent to the Galatians, the Corinthians and the Achaeans, 1 and let us both live 
in the spirit which with sacred awe you show in them. For the Holy Spirit is 
in you and above all exalted ones gives expression by your sublime speech to 
the most venerable thoughts. I could wish therefore that when you express such 
lofty thoughts a cultivated form of discourse should not be lacking to their 
majesty. And that I may conceal nothing from you, brother, or burden my 
conscience, I confess that the emperor was moved by your sentiments. When 
I had read to him about the origin of the power in you, he said that he could only 
wonder that a man who had not enjoyed the usual education should be capable 
of such thoughts. To which I answered that the gods are wont to speak 
through the mouths of the innocent, not of those who by their education 
are able to prevaricate.’ I gave him the example of Vatienus, an uneducated 
countryman, to whom two men appeared in a field at Reate who after¬ 
wards are named as Castor and Pollux; 10 with that he seems sufficiently 
instructed. Farewell. 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 


Paul greets Seneca 

I am not unaware that our emperor, if ever he is despondent, is a lover 
of marvellous things; however, he allows himself not to be injured, but only 
admonished. 11 For I think you have gravely erred that you have wished to bring 
to his notice what is contrary to his belief and tenets. Since he worships the gods 
of the nations, I do not see what was your purpose in wishing him to know this, 
unless I am to think that you are doing this out of undue love for me. I beg you 
for the future not to do it. For you must beware lest in loving me you cause 
offence to the empress, 12 whose displeasure will indeed only do harm if it 
persists, but also will be of no profit if that is not so. Even if as empress she 
is not affronted, as a woman she will be offended. 13 Farewell. 


Seneca greets Paul 

I know that you are not so much disturbed for your own sake by the letter 
which I wrote to you about the giving of your letters to the emperor as by the 
nature of the things which so hold back the minds of men from all aits and right 
customs. Today I do not wonder, especially since I now know it well from 
many documents. Therefore let us make a new beginning, and if in the past 
anything has been done too lightly, you will grant me forgiveness. I have sent 
you a book on ‘verbosity’. 14 Farewell, most beloved Paul. 


Paul greets Seneca 

As often as I write to you and set my name behind yours, I commit a serious 
fault which is not congruent with my religion. 15 For I ought, as I have often 
professed, to be all things to all men. 16 and as concerns your person to observe 
what Roman law has conceded to the honour of the Senate, 17 namely after 
perusal of a letter to choose the last place, that I may not with embarrassment and 
shame seek to do what was within my power. Farewell, my highly revered teacher. 

Given on 27 June in the consulship of Nero (for the third time) and Messala. 11 

XI (XIV?) 

Seneca greets Paul” 

Greetings, my dearest Paul! Do you think that I am not saddened and 
distressed that capital punishment is still visited upon your innocence? And also 
that all die populace judges you people so hard-hearted and so ready for any 


The Correspondence between Seneca and Paul 

crime, believing that whatever happens amiss in the city is done by you? But let 
us bear with equanimity and make use of the forum which fate provides, until 
invincible good fortune makes an aid of evils. The time of the ancients suffered 
the Macedonian, the son of Philip, the Cyruses, Darius and Dionysius, our own 
time also Gaius Caesar (= Caligula), men for whom all that they wished was 
legitimate. It is clear at whose hands the city of Rome so often suffers burning. 
But if human humility could declare what is the cause of it, and in this darkness 
was free to speak with impunity, then all would see everything. Christians and 
Jews are - forsooth! - executed as fire-raisers, as a matter of common custom. 
Whoever that delinquent is, who takes pleasure in murder and uses lies as a 
disguise, his days are numbered, and just as the best is sometimes offered up as 
one life for many, 20 so also will this accursed one be burned in the fire for all. 
132 palaces, 4000 apartment houses were burned in six days; the seventh 
brought a pause. I wish you good health, brother. 

Given on 28 March in the consulship of Frugi and Bassus. 

XII (XI?) 

Seneca greets Paul 

Greetings, my dearest Paul! 21 If a man so distinguished as you and in every 
way beloved by God is I do not say united but of necessity interwoven with me 
and my name, then it will be for the best with your Seneca. Since you are the 
crown and peak of all most lofty mountains, do you not wish me to rejoice that 
I am so close to you that I may be thought your second self? You should 
therefore not think that you are unworthy to be named in the first place in the 
letters, that you may not seem to tempt rather than to praise me, especially since 
you know yourself to be a Roman citizen. For I could wish that my place could 
be yours in your letters and yours mine. 22 Fare well, dearest Paul. 

Given on 23 March in the consulship of Apronianus and Capito. 23 


Seneca greets Paul 

Many things are brought together by you, allegorically and enigmatically, from 
every quarter, and therefore the great power granted to you, in your material and in 
your office, ought to be adorned not with verbal trappings but with a certain 
refinement Nor should you be afraid - as I recall, I have said this often already - that 
many who concern themselves with such things may corrupt the sense and weaken 
the power of the material. Certainly I could wish that you make me the 
concession to have regard for the Latinity and with noble words find the proper 
form, that you may worthily fulfil the honorable task entrusted to you. Fare well. 

Given on 6 July in the consulship of Lurco and Sabinus. 24 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

XIV (XD?) 

Paul greets Seneca 

In your reflection things have been revealed to you which the Deity has 
granted only to a few. With assurance therefore I sow in a field already fertile 
most powerful seed, not indeed matter that seems to be decaying but the firm 
word of God, the outflow of him who grows and abides for ever. 23 What your 
discernment has grasped must remain unfailing: that the observances of the 
Gentiles and the Jews are to be avoided. Make yourself a new herald of Christ 
Jesus, showing by your rhetorical proclamations tire irrefutable wisdom which 
you have almost attained. This you will teach to the temporal king and his 
servants and faithful friends. For them persuasion will be hard and above their 
capacity, for several of them are but little swayed by your expositions. But if 
the word of God is instilled in them as a vital blessing, it begets a new man 
without corruption, 2 * an animal ever in motion, 27 which hastens hence towards 
God. Farewell, Seneca most dear to us! 

Given on 1 August in the consulship of Lurco and Sabinus. 2 * 


3. The Correspondence between Seneca and Paul 

1. A friend of Seneca, to whom he dedicated the Epistulae morales. 

2. A park on the Quirinal, which formerly belonged to the historian Sallust. 

3.1.e. from God through you. 

4. When Paul is later regarded as an apostle, then 'by Paul’ will mean ‘by the recognised 

5. Poppaea Sabina; cf. letter VIII. 

6. Cf. 2 Jn. 12; 3 Jn. 13. 

7. Luke dedicated his Gospel and Acts to Theophilus. Nothing is known of any relation 
between Paul and Theophilus. 

8. What is meant is 2 Corinthians; cf. 1:1 there. 

9. a. ML 11:23; 1 Cor. 1:26-29. 

10. Cf. Cicero, de Natura Dtorum II 2.6; Vilen us Maximus 18.1; Lactamius, Div. Inst. II 

11. According to another reading the (ext should run:' But you will none the leas allow that 
I do not affront you, only warn you'. 

12. See note 3. 

13. According to the ms. tradition we should have to give a translation here that makes no 
sense: *... whose displeasure will neither harm if it lasts, nor benefit if that is not the case. 
If she is an empress, she will not be offended, if a woman, she will feel herself attacked'. 

14. De Verborum Copus: handed down in many MSS under Seneca’s name, with a reference 
to the letter to Paul. cf. J. Fohkn in Mediaeval Studies 42. 1980, 139ff. 

13. Paul has actually placed his name in the final greetings in three of his letters (1 Cor., 
Col., 2 Thess ). 

16. Cf. 1 Cor. 9.22; 10:33. 

17. Nothing is known of any such law. 


The Pseudo-Titus Epistle 

18. In A.D. 58. 

19. This letter is ostensibly written after the burning of Rome in A.D. 64. 

20. Cf. Virgil, Aen. V 815: unum pro muitis dabitur caput. 

21. This is evidently the answer to letter X. 

22. Cf. Gal. 4:12. 

23. In AD. 59. 

24. In AD. 58. 

25. Cf. 1 Pet 1:23; 1:25. 

26. tine corruptela: cf. 1 Cor. 15:42 according to OL. seminatur corpus in corruptione.surgii sine 

27. perpetuum animal: what is continually in motion is according to Platonic and Neo-Platonic 
doctrine immortal (Phaedrus 245Q. 


4. The Pseudo-Titus Epistle 

Aurelio de Samos Otero 


As the ‘Epistle of Titus, the Disciple of Paul, on the State of Chastity’ there has 
survived a noteworthy document which was discovered in 1896in a Latin manuscript 
of the 8th century (fols. 84-93v of the ‘Codex Burchardi’ Mp. th. f. 28 of the 
University of WUrzburg) among the Homilies of Caesanus of Aries (cf. D.G. Morin, 
Revue Binidictine 13. 1896, 97-111). Only in 1925 after lengthy study was this 
document published in full by D. de Bruyne (Rev. Bin. 37,1925, pp. 47-72; reprinted 
PL Suppl. II 1522-1542). This ‘Epistle’ is composed in barbarous language, the 
solecisms of which are not to be explained simply through the clumsiness of some 
scribe, but also go back in large panto the author himself. The hypothesis put forward 
by de Bruyne that we are concerned here with a Latin translation from the Greek, 
made apparently by a man who knew neither Latin nor Greek sufficiently (Rev. Bin. 
25, 1908, 150; M.R. James on his part even attempted to restore the presumably 
original Greek text in the light of some indicia of the ‘Epistle’, cf. ibid., p. 151) is 
today no longer tenable, especially after the investigations of A. von Hamack (cf. 
SPAW 17, 1925, 191). To this there has to be added the close connection of our 
‘Epistle’ with other like-minded Latin writings about which we have still to speak. 

Since we are dependent on a single manuscript the reading of which presents 
considerable linguistic difficulties, the last word cannot yet be spoken regarding the 
origin of the Epistle of Titus. Nevertheless much can already be stated about the 
character and the content of this ‘Epistle’. What is most striking is not only the 
external apocryphal guise of the ‘Epistula Titi’, but also the liberal use that is made 
in it of all sorts of apocrypha, especially of the Acts of Apostles and of some 
Apocalypses. In the course of half a century these numerous quotations from the 
apocrypha have most of all aroused the interest of scholars, and they have led to many 
arguments regarding the origin of the ‘Epistle’. But this clue (which is especially 
valuable for the judgment of a writing which contains no dogmatic statements) ought 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

not to be considered apart from the ostensible aim of the Epistle. The author seems 
to have had above ail a concrete ascetic aim in view, namely to commend the life 
of chastity. Those whom he addresses belong to a special circle of ascetics of both 
sexes ( spadones and virgtnes), who have vowed to live in the state of celibacy, but 
in whose life several abuses (among them that of ‘spiritual marriage*) have been 
naturalised. That he may combat this impropriety and give prominence to the wrath 
of chastity, the author has recourse to all the means that are at his disposal. The mere 
enlistment of Titus as the reputed author of the epistle (as is well known, his authority 
in the sphere of ascetic matters was very great because of his close connection with 
Paul) goes to prove the ascetic interests which Pseudo-Titus wishes to support. 

But the wealth of quotations from the Holy Scriptures with which the author 
accompanies his enthusiastic exclamations on the state of celibacy reveals a distinct 
leaning on other ascetic writings which originated above all in literary circles about 
Jerome and Cyprian and pursued a similar aim. Reference may be made among others 
to ps.-Cyprian, de Singularitate Clericorum (ed. Hartel, CSEL 3, 1871) and de 
Centesima,Sexagesima,Trigesima(ed.RciVuxatcui,ZNV/ 15,1914,60ff.); Jerome, 
Epistula 117 (ed. Hilberg, CSEL 55, pp. 422ff.); ps.-Jerome, Epistula 42 ad 
Oceanum (PL 30, 288ff.); Bachiarius, de Reparatione Lapst (PL 20, 1038-1062). 

The fact that Pseudo-Titus also has recourse to apocryphal quotations which 
are distinguished by their misogamy not only goes to prove his own naive 
enthusiasm, but also suggests the conjecture that this writing may have originated 
in an environment where the ascetic life especially flourished and the apocryphal 
writings (above all the strictly ascetic Acts of Apostles) enjoyed a great reputation. 
This environment is probably to be sought in connection with the Priscillianist 
movement in the ascetic circles of the Spanish Church in the course of the 5th 
century. In favour of that there is first the fact that in this land there was from the 
beginning a rigorous ascetic tendency, which absorbed with a special enthusiasm 
both the ascetic writings that have been named and the apocryphal Acts of 
Apostles. To this there have to be added the official documents of the Spanish 
hierarchy, which denounce the improprieties combated by Pseudo-Titus as 
something typically Priscillianist and condemn them in similar terms. In the 
author of this ‘Epistle*, however, we certainly do not need to see a Priscillianist. 
It is quite conceivable that a member of the catholic Church, carried away by his 
ignorant enthusiasm, composed this document and had it circulated under the 
banner of Titus. 

Among the different contributions to the study of Pseudo-Titus reference may 
first be made to works which deal on occasion with some of the problems of this 
‘Epistle’ (mainly with the quotations from the apocrypha): E. SchUrer, ThLZ 33, 
1908, 614; J. Weiss. Der I Korintherbrief, 1910, pp. 58ff.; M.R. James, The Lost 
Apocrypha of the OT . 1920, p. 55; id. The Apocryphal NT, 1924, pp. 265.303,349; 
Hennecke, NTApo 2 227-228; C. Schmidt. ZKG 43, 1924, 334ff. 

D.G. Morin (Rev. Bin. 13, 1896, 97-111) and von Eckhart ( Commentarii de 
rebus Franciae orientals I, 837-847) have described the Wtirzburg manuscript in 

D. de Bruyne first published the quotations made in Pseudo-Titus from the 
apocrypha (Rev. Bin. 25,1908,149-160) and then edited the whole text with some 


The Pseudo-Titus Epistle 

corrections and elucidations (see above). The most important contribution to the 
study of Pseudo-Titus has been made by A. von Hamack in his investigation ‘Der 
apokryphe Brief des Paulusschuiers Titus', SPAW 17,1925,180-213. H. Koch has 
discovered a partnership in catchwords between Pseudo-Titus and other ascetic 
writings (ZNW 32.1933, pp. 131-144). Bulhart has suggested some corrections to 
the Latin text (Rev. Bin. 62.1952,297-299). For justification of the views regarding 
the Epistle of Titus advocated by us in the foregoing introduction, we refer to the 
article ‘Der apokryphe Titusbrief, ZKG 74, 1963, 1-14. 

A complete translation of this ‘Epistle’ was published for the Erst time in the 
German edition of NTApo 3 , and for the present edition this has been thoroughly 
revised. 1 We have endeavoured to solve as far as possible the linguistic puzzles which 
crop up again and again, so as to be able to present a readable and coherent text. In 
so doing we have had regard not only to the corrections suggested by de Bruyne and 
Bulhart but also to the peculiar style of Pseudo-Titus. 

Epistle of Titus, the Disciple of PauP 

Great and honourable is the divine promise which the Lord has made with 
his own mouth to them that are holy arid pure: He will bestow upon them what 
eyes have not seen nor ears heard, nor has it entered into any human heart. 
And from eternity to eternity there will be a race incomparable and incompre¬ 
hensible. 3 

Blessed then are those who have not polluted their flesh by craving for this 
world, but are dead to the world that they may live for God! To whom neither 
flesh nor blood has shown deadly secrets, but the Spirit has shone upon them 
and shown some better thing so that even in this < .. . > and instant of our 
<pilgrimage on the earth> they may display an angelic appearance. As the Lord 
says, Such are to be called angels.* 

Those then who are not defiled with women 5 he calls an angelic host. Those 
who have not abandoned themselves to men, he calls virgins, as the apostle of 
Christ says: the unmarried think day and night on godly things ,‘ i.e. to act 
properly and to please Him alone, and not to deny by their doings what they 
have promised in words. Why should a virgin who is already betrothed to 
Christ be united with a carnal man? 

It is not lawful to cling to a man ami to serve him more than God. Virgin! 
Thou hast cast off Christ, to whom thou wert betrothed! Thou has separated 
thyself from Him, thou who strivest to remain united to another! O beauteous 
maidenhood, at the last thou art stuck fast in love to a male being! O (holy) 
ascetic state, thou disappearest (when) the saints match human offences! 

O body, thou art put to the yoke of the law of God, and ever and again 
committest fornication! Thou art crucified to this world 7 and continuest to act 
up to it! If the apostle Paul forbade communion to a woman caught in an 
adulterous relation with a strange man, 1 ho w much more when those concerned 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

are saints dedicated to Christ! Thou art caught in the vile fellowship of this 
world, and yet regardest thyself as worthy of the blood of Christ cm- as united 
with his body! But this is not the case: if thou eat of the flesh of the Lord 
unworthily, then thou takest vainly instead of life the fire of thine 
everlasting punishment! O virgin: if thou strivest to please (another), then 
thou hast already committed a sin of volition, for the Evangelist says: one 
cannot serve two masters, for he obeys the one, and despises the other? O 
virgin! so is it also with thee. Thou despisest God, whilst striving to please 
a man. 

Wherefore contemplate the footprints of our ancestors! Consider the 
daughter of Jephthah: willing to do what had been promised by her father and 
vowing her own self as a sacrifice to the Lord, she first manifested her 
connection with God and took other virgins with her that in the mountains 
throughout sixty days they might bewail her virginity.' 0 O luminous secrets 
which disclose the future in advance! Virgin is joined with virgin, and in love 
to her she bewails the peril of her flesh until the day of her reward comes! 
Rightly does he say ‘sixty days’, since he means the sixtyfold reward of 
holiness which the ascetic can gain through many pains, according to the 
teaching of the apostle. Let us not lose courage, he says, in the hardest labours, 
in affliction, in grief, in suffering abuse: we suffer persecution, but we are not 
forsaken, because we bear in our body the passion of Christ. Wherefore we are 
by no means overcome." And again the same apostle left an example behind 
him, describing his own disasters and saying: / have laboured much. / have 
frequently been imprisoned, I have suffered extremely many floggings. / have 
often fallen into deadly peril. Of the Jews, he says, / have five times received 
forty stripes save one. three times have / been beaten with rods, once have / 
been stoned; thrice have / suffered shipwreck, a day and a night / have spent 
in the depth of the sea; l have often journeyed ,' 2 often been in peril of rivers, 
in peril of robbers, in peril among unbelievers in manifold ways, in peril in 
cities, in peril among Gentiles, in peril in the wilderness, in peril among false 
brethren; in trouble and labour, frequently in sorrow, in many watchings, in 
hunger and thirst, in many fastings, in coldand nakedness, in inward anxieties, 
besides the cares which do not have direct reference to my personal suffering. 
And in all these / have not lost courage, because Christ was and still is with 
me.' J 

Oh, through how much trouble does man attain to glory! Besides there is 
the word of the Lord, who says: Whom l love, he says, / rebuke and chasten 1 * 
that the righteous man may be tested as gold in the crucible. What bodily 
joy can there be then in the life to come if the word of the Lord runs: Oh! 
as a virgin, as a woman, so is the mystery of resurrection (which) you have 
shown to me, you who in the beginning of the world did institute vain feasts 
for yourselves and delighted in the wantonness of the Gentiles and behaved 


The Pseudo-Titus Epistle 

in the same way as those who take delight therein}* Behold what sort of young 
maidens there are among you! But come ami ponder over this, that there 
is (me who tries the soul and a last day of retribution and persecution. 

Where then art thou now, thou who hast passed the time of thy youth 
happily with a sinner, the apostle testifying moreover that neither flesh nor 
blood will possess the kingdom of God7 xt 

And again the law runs: let not a man glory in his strength, but rather let 
him trust in the Lord} 1 and Jeremiah says: Accursed is he who puts his hope 
in man. 1 * And in the Psalms it is said: It is better to trust in the Lord than to 
rely on men} 9 Why then art thou not afraid to abandon the Lord and to trust in 
a man who in the last judgment will not save thee but rather destroy? Consider 
and take note of the happening about which the following account informs us: 
A peasant had a girl who was a virgin. She was also his only daughter, and 
therefore he besought Peter to offer a prayerfor her. After he had prayed, the 
apostle said to the father that the Lord would bestow upon her what was 
expedient for her soul. Immediately the girl fell down dead. O reward worthy 
and ever pleasing to God, to escape the shamelessness of the flesh and to break 
the pride of the blood! But this distrustful old man, failing to recognise the 
worth of the heavenly grace, i.e. the divine blessing, besought Peter again that 
his only daughter be raisedfrom the dead. And some days later, after she had 
been raised, a man who passed himself off as a believer 20 came into the house 
ofthe old man to stay with him, and seduced the girl, and the two ofthem never 
appeared again. 21 

For the man who dishonours his own body makes himself like the godless. 
And therefore the dwelling-place of the godless cannot be found out, as David 
says: / sought him but he was nowhere to be found, 22 as also in the (mentioned) 
case of death those two did not dare (to appear) any more. Thou oughtest then, 
O virgin, to fear the judgment of this law: If says Moses, a betrothed virgin 
is caught unawares with another man, let the two of them be brought before 
the court of the elders and be condemned to death. 23 

These happenings have been recorded for us on whom the end of this age 
has come. One thing stands fast: should a virgin who is betrothed to Christ be 
caught unawares with another man, let them both be committed for final 
sentence before the court of the elders, i.e. of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whose 
charge it is to investigate the case of their children. Then will the fathers disown 
their own children as evildoers. Ami finally the malefactors will cry amidst the 
torment of their punishment: Hear us, O Lord God, for our father Abraham has 
not known us, and Isaac and Jacob have disowned us! Thus then let the 
children conduct themselves that (some day) they may find themselves in 
the bosom of father Abraham. That is to say, that they may remain 
praiseworthy in his remembrance and be not as the daughters of Zion 
whom the Holy Spirit reproaches through Isaiah: They moved together 


XTV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

through the streets, dancing with their heads erect. And they engaged 
themselves to men in the villages of Jerusalem, and heaped up iniquity to the 
sky, and the Lord was angry and delivered them up to king Nebuchadnezzar 
to slavery for seventy years. 24 

You also are disobedient and undisciplined, you who do something even 
worse than the first committed. In the end you also will be delivered up to 
the wicked king Nebuchadnezzar, as he says, i.e. to the devil who will fall 
upon you. And as they (the Jews), after they had spent seventy years in 
anguish, returned to their own places of abode, so a period of seven years 
is (now) appointed under Antichrist But the pain of these seven years 
presents eternal anguish. And as, after their return to their homeland, they 
henceforth experienced much evil, so is it also now with (these): after death 
the soul of each one will be tormented unto the judgment day. And again, 
after the slaughter of the beast, the fust resurrection will take place; and 
then will the faithless souls return to their dwellings; and according to the 
increase of their (earlier) evil-doings will their torment (now) be aug¬ 
mented beyond the first punishment 

Therefore, beloved, we must combat the works of the flesh because of the 
coming retribution. In order then that ye may escape eternal torment ye must 
struggle, daughters, against flesh and blood so long as a period for that 
continues and a few days still remain wherein ye may contend for life. Why 
should the man who hast renounced the flesh be held fast in its lust? Why, O 
virgin, thou who has renounced a man, dost thou hug this physical beauty? 
Why (ascetic) givest thou up to a strange woman (i.e. one belonging to Christ) 
thy body which was not made for that? Why strives! thou against thine own 
salvation to find death in love? Hear the apostle who says to you: See, he says, 
that ye give not place to the flesh through the liberty of God? 5 And again: Fulfil 
not the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit 
against the flesh. These are opposed to one another. Therefore, he says, do not 
what ye would. Otherwise the Spirit of God is not in you. 2 * O inherently false 
one, to despise the commandments of the holy law and (through) a deceitful 
marriage to lose in secret the life everlasting! O honeyed cheat, to draw on 
torment in the future! O unbridled passion for glory, to offend against the 
devotion that has been vowed to God! O steps that lead astray from the way, 
that a virgin is fond of the flesh of another! 0 faith(less) craving, theft of fire, 
honour entangled in crime! 27 O broken promise, that the mind blazes up for a 
stranger! O pledge of lust, beauty inclined to crime! O alluring symbol of vice 
that brings disdain! O seminari da membra vicinacio tenebraruml “ O 
concealed thievery, to give an appearance of humility and chastity! O 
gloom of the dark deed which plunders the glory of Christ for ever! O 
fleeting remembrance of holiness which strives after death in the name of 
beauty! 0 silver that has been refused, which according to the saying of 


The Pseudo-Titus Epistle 

Isaiah is not worthy ofGodV* 0 dishonoured Sabbath in which the works of 
the flesh come to light in the last days and times! O foot, that failest on the way 
to holiness and dost not arrive at a sure habitation! O ship burst open by pirates, 
thou that gettest away empty and miserable! O house that is undermined by 
burglars whilst the watchmen sleep and lose the costly treasure! O maidenly 
youth, thou that failest off miserably from right conduct! O enlargement of 
trust in this world which turns into desolation in eternity! 30 O consequence of 
unchastity which brings down upon itself the malady of melancholy! O 
fountain of sweet poison which springs up from the flesh as inextricable 
entanglement! O wretched house founded on sand! O despicable crime of (this) 
time, that corruptest not thine own members but those of a stranger! O fleeting 
enjoyment on a brink of collapse! 0 parcel of deceit! O unsleeping ardour 
for the perdition of the soul! O tower that is in building to be left unfinished! 
O shameful work, thou art the scorn of them that pass by! Why, O virgin, 
dost thou not ponder over it and estimate the heavenly charges before laying 
the foundation? In the beginning thou hast acted too hastily, and before the 
house was completed, thou hast already experienced a terrible collapse! 31 In 
your case the saying of the law has been fulfilled, the prophecy has come to 
pass: Many a tract of land, it say s, is built upon and soon it grows old; temples 
and cities are built in the land and soon they are abandoned ! 32 O flames of lust! 
The unclean profane with their lust the temple of God and by Him are 
condemned to destruction! Oh, a contest is entered upon in the stadium, and 
when it has hardly come to grappling, the shields fall to the ground! O city 
captured by enemies and reduced to a wilderness! 

Against this whorish behaviour the Lord turns through Ezekiel saying: 
Thou hast built thee thy brothel, thou hast desecrated thy beauty and thy 
comeliness in every by-way, thou hast become an unclean woman, thou who 
hast heaped up shamelessnessfor thyself. Thy disgrace in the unchastity which 
thou hast practised with thy lovers will yet come to light. And again, Ar / live, 
saith the Lord, Sodom has not so done as thou Jerusalem and thy daughters. 
But the iniquity of Sodom, thy sister, is fulfilled. For Samaria has not 
committed the half of thy sins. Thou hast multiplied iniquities beyond thy 
sisters in all that thou hast done. Wherefore be ashamed and take thy disgrace 
upon thy head?* 

O how frequently the scourgings and beatings of God are not spared, and 
yet no one takes to heart the word of the Lord to be concerned about the 
future life! Has not Jerusalem, possessing the law, sinned more than Sodom 
and Gomorrah, which possessed no law? And have not the crimes of 
Jerusalem, whose sons and daughters have stood under the banner of faith, 
outweighed those of Samaria, which already from the beginning was 

On the unprecedented crime of this new people the apostle says: One hears 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

commonly of unchastity among you and indeed of such unchastity as is never 
met with among the Gentiles, that one lives with his father's wife. And ye are 
yet puffed up, and do not rather mourn, that such an evil-doer may be removed 
from your midst. I am indeed absent in the body, but in the spirit am among 
you and already, as if! were present, / have passed sentence on the evil-doer: 
to hand over that man to Satan in the name of Christ. u 

O invention of the devil, sport for those about to perish! Oh poison instead 
of honey, to take a father’s wife in the same way as any bride dedicated to Christ 
whom in thine heart thou hast craved for! 0 man, thou hast lent no ear to the 
wisdom that says to thee: the lust of the ascetic dishonours the virgin.” So also 
did the first created man fall because of a virgin: when he saw a woman giving 
him a smile, he fell* His senses became tied to a craving which he had never 
known before; 37 assuredly he had not experienced earlier its flavour and the 
sweetness that proved his downfall. O man who fearest not the face of this 
criminal person, passing by whom many have lost their lives. The disciple of 
the Lord, Judas Jacobi, brings that to our remembrance when he says: Beloved, 
l would bring to your remembrance, though ye know, what happened to them 
who were oppressed by the corruption of the flesh, as for instance the genuine 
persons (veraces) who did not preserve their dignity, but abandoned their 
heavenly abode and, enticed by 1 ust, went to the daughters of men to dwell with 
them. 3 * 

Today also they forfeit the angelic character who crave to dwell with 
strange daughters, according to the word of the Lord who proclaimed by Isaiah: 
Woe unto you who join house to house and addfield tofield that they may draw 
nigh one another . w And in Micah it is said: Bewail the house which you have 
pulled on yourselves and endure of yourselves the punishment of indignation. 40 
Does the Lord mean perhaps the house or the field of this time when he warns 
us against pressing them together? (No) rather it is a matter here of warnings 
in reference to holiness, in which the separation of man and woman is ordered. 
So the Lord also admonishes us through Jeremiah, saying. It is an excellent 
thing for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth; he will sit alone when his 
hope is real; he will keep quiet and have patience. 41 To bear the yoke’ is then to 
observe God’s order. And in conclusion the Lord says: Take my yoke upon you. 42 
And further,'in his youth’means in his hope. Thus he has commanded that salvation 
be preserved in lonely celibacy, so that each one of you may remain as a lonely tower 
according to the saying of the Evangelist that house should not remain upon house, 
but should come down at once. Why then, O man, dost thou make haste to build 
you a ruin upon a strange house and thus to occasion not only your own destruction 
but also that of the bride of Christ who is united to you? 

Ami also if thou art free from unchastity, already thou committest a sin in 
keeping up connections with women; 43 for finally, thus says the Lord in the 
Gospel: He who looks upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery 


The Pseudo-Titus Epistle 

with her already in his heart.** On this account a man must live for God 
sincerely and free from all lust. In Daniel also we read: As these false old men, 
who had craved for the beauty of Susanna, were unable to practise any 
unchastity with her, they slandered her. Susanna was brought before their 
court, and these rogues had her stand before them with her head uncovered so 
that they might satisfy their craving at least in looking on her beauty. 43 And thus 
they were unable to escape capital punishment. How much more when the last 
day comes! What, thinkest thou, will Christ do to those who have surrendered 
their own members to rape? The apostle has already shown the future in 
advance, saying: Let no temptation take hold of you, he says, save what is 
humanl* 6 O temptation to sensuality! Man is not able to control himself, and 
inflicts on himself the predicted fatal wounds! O exhalations of the flesh! The 
glowing fire hidden deep in the heart nourishes a conflagration! O ignoble 
fight, to strike root in a dark night! O tree of seducing firuit that shows thick 
foliage! O false lips, out of which honey drops and which in the end are as bitter 
as poison! O charming eloquence, the words of which shoot arrows into the 
heart! O madness of love: death fetters the young as a chain, whilst wisdom 
announces the future, that is, what it always orders: Avoid, my son, every evil 
and everything that resembles it* 7 And further And every man who takes part 
in afoot-race abstains from all things that he may be able to obtain the crown 
that is prepared for him.** 

Why takest thou, O man, a woman as a servant? Consider the conduct of 
(our) holy ancestors. Thus Elias, a noble man who still lives in the body, took 
a young man as servant, to whom also he left his mantle as a holy keepsake 
when he was taken up into paradise in a chariot of fire. 49 There Enoch also lives 
in the body, who was earned away (there) in the first age. O holy dispensation 
of God, who has provided for the coming age! Enoch, the righteous, from 
among the first people, was commissioned 50 to commit to writing the history 
of the first men, and the holy Elias (was given the task) of registering the new 
deeds of this later people! 31 

All that has thus to be construed according to the condition of (our) time: 
each of the two springs from his own age, Enoch (as a symbol) of righteousness 
and Elias (as a symbol) of holiness. But we must comply with the rule of our 
holiness, as the apostle says: In body and spirit genus must resemble genus and 
the disciple the master. 52 And the spirit of Elias rested finally on Elisha. He also 
begged of him that he might immediately receive from him a double blessing 
like the one which (later) the Lord gave to his advanced disciples, saying. He 
that believes on me will also do the works that l do, and will do greater works 
than these.™ But such grace is granted only to those who fulfil the 
commandments of the Master. What should we now say? If Elisha served 
in the house of Elias to comply with the rule of propriety and the boy Gehazi 
assisted the (prophet) Elisha as Baruch (the prophet) Jeremiah, in order to leave 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

us an (instructive) remembrance, why does a man today take a woman as 
servant 34 under a semblance of holiness? If it is a matter of a close relative, then 
that will do; but not if she is a strange woman. After the flood the sons of Noah 
looked for places for themselves where they might build cities, and they named 
them after their wives. 33 Precisely so do these (men) now behave who are 
united (to women). 

O ascetics of God who look back at women to offer them gifts, to give them 
property, to promise them houses, to make them presents of cloches, to 
surrender to them their own souls and yield to their name all that belongs to 
them! If thou then, O man, behavest rightly and innocently, why dost thou not 
take thine own sister with thee? Why doest thou not give her all that belongs 
to thee, and thou wilt possess every thing? Further and further thou separatest 
thyself from her thou hatest her, thou persecutes! her. And yet thy greatest 
safety is in her. Nay, separated from her thou attachest thyself to another. And 
thus dost thou think to remain wealthy in body and not be controlled by any 
lust, and dost say that thou possesses! the heavenly hope. Hear a word that 
holds good for thee. Consider what the Lord in the Gospel says to Mary: Touch 
me not, says he, for I am not yet ascended to my Father l 36 O divine examples 
which have been written for us! And Paul, the chosen vessel (of the Lord) and 
the impregnable wall among the disciples, 37 admonishes us when in the course 
of his mission the virgin Thecla, full of innocent faithfulness to Christ, wished 
to kiss his chain - mark thou what the apostle said to her: Touch me not, he said. 
because of the frailty of (this) time.™ Thou dost sec then, O young man, what 
the present Lord and the recorded testament of the disciple have said against 
the flesh. For they did not order the women to withdraw for their own sakes, 
for the Lord cannot be tempted and just as little can Paul, his vicar, but these 
admonitions and commands were uttered for the sake of us who are now 
members of Christ. 

Above all the ascetic should avoid women on that account and see to it that 
he does (worthily) the duty entrusted to him by God. Consider the rebuilding 
of Jerusalem: at the time of this laborious work every man was armed and mail- 
clad, and with one hand he built whilst in the other he held fast a sword, always 
ready to contend against the enemy. Apprehend then the mystery, how one 
should build the sanctuary of celibacy: in ascetic loneliness one hand must be 
engaged in the work that an extremely beautiful city may be built for God, 
whilst the other grasps the sword ami is always ready for action against the 
wicked devil. That is then to be interpreted in this way: both hands, i.e. the spirit 
and the flesh, have in mutual harmony to bring the building to completion, the 
spirit being always on the lookout for the enemy and the flesh building on the 
bedrock of good conduct. Therefore it is said in the Gospel: Let your works 
shine before men that they may glorify your Father in heaven* Behold what 
a splendid structure is built in the heavenly Jerusalem. In this city one contends 


The Pseudo-Titus Epistle 

rightly in a lonely position, without any intercourse with the flesh, as it stands 
in the Gospel: In the coming age, says the Lord, they will neither marry nor 
be given in marriage, but will be as the angels in heaven “ Thus we must 
endeavour through blameless conduct to gain for ourselves everlasting honour 
in the future age. O man, who understandest nothing at all of the fruits of 
righteousness, why has the Lord made the divine phoenix and not given it a 
little wife, but allowed it to remain in loneliness? Manifestly only on purpose 
to show the standing of virginity, i.e. that young men, remote from intercourse 
with women, should remain holy. And its resurrection points finally to life. In 
this connection David says in the Psalms: I will lay me down and sleep in peace 
for thou, 0 Lord, makest me to dwell lonesome in hope. 61 O peaceful rest given 
without interruption! O great security, when a man lives lonesome in the body! 
Thou const not expect to bind glowing coals on thy garment, and not set the 
robe alight “ Should you do such a thing, then you will remain naked and your 
shame will be manifest. Add to this the word of the prophet: All flesh is grass. 61 
That a man then may not go up in flames, let him keep far from fire. Why 
exposest thou thine eternal salvation to loss through a trifle? Hast thou not read 
in the law this word that holds good for thee: The people sat down to eat and 
to drink; and they rose to make merry; and of them 23 jOOOfell there7* For they 
had begun to have intercourse with the daughters of men, i.e. they allowed 
themselves to be invited by them to their unclean sacrifices, and the children 
of Israel dedicated themselves to Baalpeor , 13 

Behold, what a godless play it was in which (the children of Israel) allowed 
themselves to be entangled, and perished! Seeing in advance how such 
criminal doings would multiply until the end, Christ the Saviour was grieved, 
and he said: Woe, woe unto the souls that despise their own judgment! For I 
see men who delight their souls in vanity and abandon themselves to the 
unclean world. I see also how all that isfor the benefit of the enemy! Therefore 
/ can stand by them and say: O souls that apply yourselves to unchastity and 
have no fear before God! 66 The Gibeonites also in the time of the Judges moved 
the Lord to indignation. Twelve thousand strong men arose to overthrow the 
city, and only three hundred and two virgins who had had no sexual intercourse 
with men came forth alive. 67 The name Gibeonites signifies children of 
confusion, who received the body of Christ in the form of a woman, and 
prostituted it to their amusement, and made it an object of derision and 
mockery. Dost thou not do likewise in venturing to ridicule the members 
of Christ with a virgin? For all of us, both men and women, who have been 
baptised into Christ have put on Christ. 66 It is then a matter of the violation not 
of earthy flesh but of the body of Christ And rightly was that city taken by the 
attacking twelve legions, which were a symbol of the twelve apostles. Rightly 
have they sprung from a strong race, for they are called sons of thunder. 69 In 
the last judgment they will appear, equipped with might, to perform miracles 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

against the Gentiles. And they will judge the twelve tribes of Israel, sitting on 
twelve thrones. And no one from the church will then be able to get away, apart 
from the virgins dedicated to God, whose members have not been defiled by 
the enemy with the infection of his evil will. The number also suggests the sign 
of the cross: for 300 is written with the Greek letter T, and T is the figure of 
the cross, which makes its appearance in the life of virginity. Rightly also is 
the kingdom of heaven to be arrived at through five virgins, by which he means 
that the promises can be certain only through purity and wisdom. And therefore 
the promise was not fulfilled to Abraham through fleshly procreation, but it 
was through divine inspiration that he received the blessing. What should we 
then say to this? Can virginity not perhaps itself lead to eternal torment? (Oh 
yes!), but these five virgins were foolish, precisely as are those who today have 
not watched over their flesh but have marred their readiness for battle through 
desire for the male sex. Wherefore also David says in the Psalms: Those who 
mounted on horses fell asleep. 10 In body indeed they went on horseback, but 
they were unable to persist in their virgin watchfulness, just like the children 
of confusion who were again thrown from their horses. O dark cringing of the 
flesh which has turned into torment! Finally they will reprove themselves for 
their past doings with the following words: O wretched flesh, which has brought 
us to ruin! Had we not suffered ourselves to be misled by thee, then we also could 
have been numbered among the saints! 

O man, who believest that all these things shall be! Thou knowest that 
different judgments must be passed on sinners. In the member with which each 
man has sinned, in the same also shall he be tormented. 

The prophet Elias bears witness to a vision: The angel of the Lord, he says, 
showed me a deep valley, which is called Gehenna, burning with brimstone 
and pitch. In this place the souls of many sinners dwell and are tormented in 
different ways. Some suffer hanging from the genitals, others by the tongue, 
some by the eyes, others head downwards. The women are tormented in their 
breasts, and the young hang from their hands. Some virgins are roasted on a 
gridiron, and other souls undergo an unceasing torment. The multiplicity of 
the torments answers to the diversity of the sins of each. The adulterers and 
the corrupters of such as are under age are tormented in their genitals. Those 
who hang from their tongues are the blasphemers and false witnesses. They 
have their eyes burned who have stumbled through their glances and who have 
looked atfoul things with craving for them. H ead downwards there hang those 
who have detested the righteousness of God, who have been evil-minded, 
quarrelsome towards their fellows. Rightly then are they burned according to 
the punishment imposed on them. If some women are punished with torment 
in their breasts, then these are women who for sport have surrendered their 
own bodies to men, and for this reason these also hang from their hands. 11 
Solomon took these things into account, saying: Blessed is the eunuch who has 


The Pseudo-Titus Epistle 

committed no offence with his hands. 71 And again, If thou controllest the 
craving of thy heart, then art thou an athlete 

And through wisdom he admonishes in the following way: Of what benefit 
to an idol is an offering when it can neither taste nor smell it? Just as little does 
it benefit an eunuch to embrace a virgin. O my son, thou shouldest not make 
her the object of your pleasure'. 1 * Thou seest clearly that thou has become a 
stranger to God. 

In another passage we read: / abhor such sport, he says, unclean heresy, 
lust of the ascetic, bodies entwined in one another ! 75 1 am ashamed to bring 
forward the further final doings, which the enemy has instigated and to 
which the apostle has prudently called our attention, saying: / am afraid 
concerning you lest ye be seduced by the enemy, as (in those days) Eve was 
cunningly tempted by the serpent. 76 

Therefore, watching craftily, let us arm ourselves with spiritual weapons 
that we may be able to defeat the giant, as the discourse of the Lord by his 
prophet runs: He who defeats a giant, says he, takes his spoil. 71 That means to 
bridle the desires of the flesh that, as its spoil, we may be able to carry away 
the everlasting resurrection. (That can only take place) after we have been 
renewed to the glory of God. How wilt thou then be capable of defeating a giant 
if thou art prevented by women? Hear the thanksgiving 71 rendered by John, the 
disciple of the Lord, when praying before his death: O Lord, thou who from 
my infancy until this age hast preserved me untouched by woman, thou who 
hast kept my body from them so that the mere sight of a woman excites 
abhorrence in me. O gift (of God), to remain untouched by the influence of 
women! By the grace of this holy state thou canst love what is abominable to 
the flesh. But thou honorary ascetic, how canst thou believe that thou canst 
remain free from sordid deed if willingly thou hast women always before thee? 
Does what we teach (here) stand perhaps outside the law? Compare with this 
what even the demons declared when they made confession before the deacon 
Dyrus on the arrival of John: 79 In the last times many will attempt to dispossess 
us, saying that they are free from women and from craving after them and 
clean. And yet if we desired it, we could possess even them themselves. 

Thou seest then, 0 man, how the strange spirits, i.e. the deeds of the devil, 
testify to thee that one can be overcome by womanly beauty. How then canst 
thou set free the bodies possessed by them if thou thyself art possessed by 
them? To conquer them one must have in oneself the necessary power. 
Beware then of being possessed by the evil one or of being conquered by the 
adulterer* 0 i.e. keep thyself far from association with women and from 
pleasantry with them during meal-times. Thus runs the word of Holy Scrip¬ 
ture : Suffer not thy heart to be enticed by her lest thou also come to death .Thus, 
my child, beware of her, as of a serpent's head.*' Receive into thine heart the 
admonitions of the blessed John, who, when he was invited to a wedding, came 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

only for the sake of chastity. And what did he say? Children, while your flesh 
is still clean and you have a body that is untouched, and you are not caught 
in corruption nor soiled by Satan, that most adverse and shame<less> 
(enemy l to chastity, know now more fully the mystery of conjugal union: it is 
a device of the serpent, a disregard of the teaching, an injury to the seed, a gift 
of death, a work of destruction, a teaching of division, a work of corruption, 
a boorish rusticity <...>,a second sowing of the enemy, an ambush of Satan, 
a device of the jealous one, an unclean fruit of parturition,a shedding of blood, 
a passion in the mind, a falling from reason, a token of punishment, an 
instruction ofpain, an operation of fire, a sign of the enemy, the deadly malice 
of envy, the embrace of deceit, a union with bitterness, a morbid humour ofthe 
mind, an invention of ruin, the desire of a phantom, a converse with matter, 
a comedy of the devil, hatred of life, a fetter of darkness, an intoxication <.. 

. >, a derision of the enemy, a hindrance of life, that separates from the Lord, 
the beginning of disobedience, the end and death of life. Hearing this, my 
children, bind yourselves each one of you in an indivisible, true and holy 
matrimony, waiting for the one incomparable and true bridegroom from 
heaven, even Christ, who is a bridegroom for ever* 2 . 

If the apostle allowed marriage itself to be dissolved that it might not 
occasion a heaping up of offences, 13 what should we say of the state of the 
ascetic, which most of all should be free from fleshly lust? O bodies separated 
from one another and already dedicated to Christ! O carnal glow of youth, 
difficult to quench! O dew that, flowing down from heaven, warms the cold 
vessel! O those who have ventured to call back to life the lost heavenly dignity! 
O endless glory of the saints, from death set free! O field pleasing to Christ, 
which brings forth eternal fruits! O denial of the flesh, spiritual nuptials with 
eternal marriage-ties in the heavenly habitations! O how much one can do in 
the conflict for chastity when one is discerning! 

When finally the apostle Andrew came to a wedding to show the glory of 
God, he separated the spouses intended for one another, the women and the 
men, and taught them to remain holy in celibacy.** O glory of the one-homed 
lamb that separates the sheep from the goats, whilst the Lord himself admonishes 
us: Hear me, my chosen sheep, and fear not the wolf. 13 Not to fear the wolf 
means to flee from the offence of death. To separate the sheep from the goats 
means to keep oneself free from foul sins, to live in solitude as one of God’s 
ascetics. So also it is said in Ezra in reference to the future: Come ye from all 
cities to Jerusalem to the mount and bring with you cypress and palm leaves 
and build you detached booths ! M 

Thou seest then, O holy man, that the hope described by the authors 
named holds good for us that, pure in body, we may live in solitude in our 
booths and that no one of us suffer himself to be fettered by carnal love. For , 
according to the question and answer of Christ, our Lord, the cypress is a 


The Pseudo-Titus Epistle 

mystery of chastity . v Its spike on a single stalk rightly aims at the sky. By the 
palm leaves also he signifies the victory, the glory of martyrdom. Out of these 
two kinds of tires are the booths built, which are the bodies of the saints. And 
since he added out of the mount, i.e. from the body of Christ, he meant 
doubtless the substancia conexa. a Blessed then are those who preserve this 
substancia\ These the Lord praises through Isaiah: Every one that does not 
profane the Sabbath but keeps it and takes hold of my covenant, them will / 
bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer, and 
their offering and burnt offering will be accepted on my altar. So saith the 
Lord.* 9 The keeping holy of the Sabbath clearly means not to defile the pure 
flesh. And therefore was it ordered in the books of the patriarchs that no 
unprofitable work should be done on the Sabbath. 90 Clearly then it is a positive 
fact that God forbids the doing of the works of this world in the flesh that is 
dedicated to Him. 

Once upon a time on a Sabbath two men were surprised collecting wood, 
and God in indignation ordered that the two of them should be put to death. 91 
That took place in the past, but it is to be interpreted in the following way: the 
two collectors of wood signify those who are committing sin, their evil-doings 
being symbolised by the collected foliage. And therefore the bundle of wood 
could not be made by one person alone, but it was two together who defiled 
the Sabbath. Rightly does the Lord give warning by Ezekiel: Behold the 
princes of Israel, they have despised my sanctuary and defiled my sabbaths; 
adulterous men have shed blood in thy midst, O Jerusalem. 92 

O most beautiful city, in the midst of thy beauty they have exposed their 
father’s nakedness! O priceless holiness of God rejected by all evil-doers! O 
sabbaths dedicated to Christ, desecrated by burglars! O priceless city, re¬ 
deemed by the blood of Christ and overwhelmed with most filthy indecencies! 
The exposing of the father’s nakedness means assuredly the violation of the 
virginity that has been consecrated to God. Finally the Lord urges him on, 
namely the prophet, to lodge the following reproach: Each one of you has defiled 
a wife not his own in shameless act, and each one of you has ravished hisfather s 
daughter 93 O error of judgment! The devil entices many minds to ravish not their 
own but the bride of Christ! O imitation of the animal way of life, when a man sleeps 
with his father’s daughter and with one bom of the self-same mother? 

Therefore, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the voice of the lawgiver 
sounds: 94 Cursed be he who lies with his own sister. And the people said. Amen, 
Amen 94 Why art thou not afraid to lie with this sister, daughter of (thy) father 
and of (thy) mother - here Christ is meant as father and the church as mother 
- as if thou couldest evade the punishment that is to be imposed by the court? 
Consider the by-gone doings recorded in the Books of the Kings, e.g. when 
Adonijah craved for the Shunammite Abishag, his father’s girl ( puella ), who 
was a symbol of the virginity that is dedicated to Christ, (was) he not because 


XFV. Apostolic Pscudepigrapha 

of a mere thought <... >?* And if Adonijah was punished with death without 
having realised his purpose, how much more today he who is found guilty of 
such a deed? If Adonijah perished because of a word, what punishment, 
thinkest thou, will be measured out for the act? It is hard for a man controlled 
by lust to come forth unsullied, as the word of the Lord through the prophet 
Haggai indicates, saying: Ask the priests concerning the law and say: if one 
bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment and after that do touch with his skirt 
bread, wine, oil, or any other food, will it thereby be holy or not? And the 
priests answered and said, No. And Haggai said: if one who is defiled touches 
all this, will it thereby be unclean? And the priests answered and said: It will 
be unclean. Then answered Haggai and said: So is it also with this people and 
with this nation before me, saith the Lord. 91 Now it is the sanctified flesh, 
dedicated to chastity, that was touched by the skirt of the baptismal robe. But 
he showed that had it come into contact with what is despicable, (this) food 
would not thereby become holy; for the material food signifies the transient 
wishes of the human mind. That is carnal food, and it is not pleasing to the Holy 
Spirit. Therefore he decreed that the king’s garment should not be considered 
as holy thereby. And further he has likewise shown that there is a state of 
defilement whereby the creature also is defiled. What Moses had already 
previously said has been made clear to us by the author of (this) saying: 
Everything that an unclean person touches shall be unclean." And what says 
Haggai (in addition)? Even so this people and this race, saith the Lord. The city 
governor orders that the city dwellers be like him! Olhou that tumest far aside 
from holiness and usurpest honour for thyself, putting thyself on a par with that 
priest! 99 O unreasonable king, thou that exploitest the people to rebellion! O 
the resemblance of an insincere course of life; many step in and out without 
justice! O vain, strange prophecy which has no validity for the future! O 
worldly reckoning which is rejected by Christ! In conclusion he reproves them 
on the last day with the words: Depart from me, ye evil-doers, I know you not: 
so will / speak to those who go into destruction.' 90 

Thou seest how those who counterfeit holy celibacy, the enemies of 
chastity, the unjust, the <... > of belief, the destroyers of the flock of God will 
be rejected. He shows that no one will escape punishment. Why thinkest thou, 
O foolish man, that what thou committest in secrecy is not forbidden, when 
God is Lord of the night and of the day, saying <...>. If one knows that it is 
not lawful to comply with the divers desires of the flesh and does what he 
regards as contrary to belief, can that not be described as obstinate offence? 
And it is that even if he does not give a thought to the fact that, although no one 
is present, contempt of the law weighs more heavily than unchastity. The lusts 
of the flesh must be deplored; this greediness must be expelled from the mind; 
but thou repentest not of this offence, and passest thyself off as guiltless when 
on the threshold of the glory that is due to (guiltlessness), and praisest thyself! 


The Pseudo-Titus Epistle 

But consider what David prophesies ami what the Holy Spirit says through his 
mouth: I said, he says, ye are gods and altogether children of the Highest, but 
ye will die like men and perish like one of the princes. 101 O gods who die a 
human death! O glory of princes that falls from the height into the depth! That 
will take place some day, there being a separation between the righteous and 
the profane, ami no fellowship of the believer with the (un)righteous, of death 
with life. Or else consider what lies between destruction and salvation! 102 
Today the prophecy of the Lord through Ezekiel has finally come to 
fulfilment: My house, he says, hasfor me turned into such dross as brass, iron, 
tin, lead in the midst of silver} 06 Into such a mixture have you turned. 104 For 
in the state of the ascetic, which is silver, there have emerged in the end 
alloys of different sorts, bad ingredients. Now these are the elements of this 
mixture. The iron signifies the hardness of the heart in which the wisdom 
of the spiritual mind has taken no root Reuben was rightly characterised 
by Jacob as the hardness of iron, for he is reckoned the hardest among those 
who belong to the Jewish people 105 The lead signifies the heaviness of the 
flesh, which is extremely heavy. By this is signified the offence which 
submerges men in the destruction of death, for the submerging of Pharaoh 
and his people as lead in the sea according to the account in Scripture 106 was 
(only) a sign (for us). And similarly we are admonished through Zechariah: 
The mouth of a shameless woman is stopped up with lead} 00 whereby crime 
is clearly meant. The brass signifes the stench of the sinful flesh, after which 
the sons of Israel craved in Egypt when they longed for the fleshpots. ,0 ‘ And 
on that account they died and were unable to come into possession of the 
ancestral promises, precisely as those also who suffer themselves to be 
enticed by the human < . . . > of the flesh will not attain to the possession 
of the kingdom of God! The interpretation of the tin is this: They are tin who 
dazzle our eyes with the wisdom of God and who in the matter of chastity 
exhibit an appearance of polluted silver, but who are in no wise of great 
value in the church. They will be rejected according to the saying of 
Solomon: In secrecy they carry out abortions and at the same time think that 
they will live for ever} 09 That is then the mixture that has come to be in the 
house of God. O seducers of women who concoct new doctrine! Burglars 
in strange houses, corrupters of maidens, violators of chastity, apostates from 
belief, resisters of the truth, rebels to the discipline of God! O outrageous 
mixture! Thou hast turned into silver, i.e. to chastity, and therefore these will 
be melted in the furnace of burning judgment, and then will the Lord purify for 
himself precious, pure, sterling, fine silver for that holy Jerusalem with a view 
to preparing for himself the paternal throne. But the others, of whom we have 
spoken above, who have apostatized from belief, these will go into eternal 
torment! Blessed then are those who have remained holy in body and united 
in spirit, for they will often speak to God! Blessed are those who have kept 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

themselvesfrom the unchastity ofthis world.for they will be pleasing to Christ, 
the Son of God. and to the Father, the Lord! Blessed are those who have kept 
the baptism of sal'>ation, for they will enjoy eternal delight. 110 He who has the 
hearing of the heart, let him hear what God promises: To the victor, he says, 
will I give to eat of the tree of life which stands in the paradise of my God. 111 
O incorruptible nourishment that comes from the tree of wisdom, the leaves 
of which are destined for the healing of the nations, where there shall be no 
curse and where no unclean flesh can enter, where no spite from unrighteous 
works and no lie will find a place, but only God and the Lamb will be 
enthroned. Their servants will render them homage for ever and ever! 1,2 These 
then are the servants of God who always minister to His will and please Him, 
who live not for the flesh but for the Holy Spirit. These are they who will not 
be overtaken by the second death and who will eat of the hidden manna, the 
food of the heavenly paradise. 113 They will receive the white stone, the helmet 
of eternal salvation, upon which is written the ineffable name of God, which 
no man knows save he who has received it O host most white, legions of 
sanctity, precious to God, to whom Christ the Lord orders royal powers to be 
given for the judging of all! Like the potter’s useless vessels will they smash 
them! / will give them, he says, the eternal morning star, as I myself received 
(it) from my Father. 1,4 Likewise will he grant those victors to be clad in 
splendid clothing, nor will their name ever be deleted from the book of life. / 
will confess them, he says, before my Father and his angels in heaven. ni 
Blessed therefore are they who persevere even unto the end, as the Lord says: 
To him that overcometh will / grant to sit at my right hand in my throne, even 
as I have overcome and sit on the right hand of my Father in his throne to all 
ages for ever and ever. Amen." b 



4. The Pseudo-Titus Epistle 

1. In recent yean several translations of PsT have appeared: NTApo 3 D, 141-166. English 
translation by George Ogg, (reproduced here in revised form); Erbetta HI, 93-110 (Italian); 
Moraldi 0,1757-1788(Italian). Cf. also H.Chadwick.Phn^ionqM viin, Qxfani 1976, pp. 109-110. 

2. In the translating of this difficult text the suggestions of W.Schneemelcher and ICSchUfadiek 
were of great value to me. 

3. This saying, to which Paul himself appeals (1 Cor. 2:9) and which for its put recalls Is. 64:4, 
has had a great after-effect in later tradition. Origen already discussed the problem of its origin 
and came to the conclusion that Paul borrowed this sentence from die Apocalypse ofEliat, in nullo 
enim regulah hbro hoc position invenitur, nisi in secretis Elias prophetae (Comm, in hit. XXVO 
3-10, GCS 38. p. 250). Both the Martyrium Petri (c. 10, cf. Aa 1,98 and 316 below) and the Gospel 


The Pseudo-Titus Epistle 

oTIhomja found at NagHammadi (log. 17;cf.vol. l,p. 119) ascribe this saying expressly to Jesus. 
There is another parallel in the Manichaean Turfan fragment M 789 (cf. voL 1, p. 403). PsT puts 
the wordof this promise into the mouth of the Lordani adds to the usual text* concluding sentence, 
to the affinity of which with Clement of Alexandria (Protr. IX 94) Hamack (op. rit.. p. 193) has 
referred. The question to what immediate source this quotation should be earned back is not easy 
to answer. Resch. (cf. Agropha', pp. 102, 154-167, 281) suggested that this saying is to be 
conceived as a logxxi; but the assumption that PsT wished in this place to cite nothing other than 
1 Cor. 2.-9 seenu tome much more likely. The naming in both passages of the author of the promise 
in question also goes to prove that Cf. NTApo* I, 300. 

4. ML 12:25 par. 

5. Rev. 14:4. 

6.1 Cor. 7:34. 

7. Cf. GaL 6:14. 

8. This happening is recorded in detail in the Actus Petri cum Simone (c. 2. Aa 1.46, and below, 
p. 288). The name erf the woman concerned is there given as Rufina. 

9. Ml 6:24. 

10. Judg. 11:38. 


12. The correction in («) pediciorubus instead of in pediciorubus proposed by Bulhart is apposite. 

13.2Car. ll:23fT. 

14. Rev. 3:19. 

15. Hamack regards this quotation as a logion of unknown origin (op. ciL, p. 195). 

16.1 Cor. 15:50. 

17. Jer. 9:23. 

18. Jer. 17:5. 

19. Pi. 118.8. 

20. The text runs: homo vinctus fide Us. Our translation is based on Hamack’s assumption that a 
scribe erroneously replaced the original fictus by vinctus. Ftcker (NTApo*. p. 228) understands 
the homo vinctus as ‘the slave of a believer' or ‘a bewitched Christian man'. 

21. Augustine ascribes this story to the Manichaean apocrypha: In apocryphu leguru... horiulam 
filiam adprecem ipsius Petri esse mortuam (c. Adimantum 17.5: CSEL 25/1.1701.3). Unhappily 
he does not give the title of this apocryphon. This story is not found in the extant Actus Petri 
VerceUcnses. Ficker (NTApo*. p. 227) is of opinion that it never belonged to them, even if it be 
assumed that these Actus are due to mutilations. Cf. pp. 279.287 below. 

22. Ps. 37:36. 

23. Deut 22:23. 

24. The source of this apocryphal quotation cannot be traced. 

25. Gal. 5:13. 

26. Gal. 5:16. 

27. The text runs: Ofida cupiditas et ignis praerogativa dignitas scelens apta. Bulhart suggests 
that fida and dignitas should either be understood ironically or replaced by (per ) fida and 
(in) dignitas. The present translation, which has as its basis only the correction of the fida. 
seems to me to render clearly the right sense of the sentence. PsT lays emphasis on the 
worthiness ( dignitas ) of these ‘honorary ascetics' in order to describe more realistically the 
seriousness of their sins. 

28. In spite of the correction proposed by Bulhart: O seminari da(re) membra vicinacio 
lenebrarum, the passage remains unintelligible to me. 

29. Is. 1:22 or the Apocryphon of Isaiah. 

30. The text runs: O locupletacio secularis fiducia egere in aevo caeleste. De Bruyne 
suggests fiduciae instead of fiducia. Bulhart translates: ‘Sinful gain in the earthly life has 
as its consequence lack of hope for the endless life.’ 


XIV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

31. Cf. Lk. 14:28ff. 

32. The source of this apocryphal quotation cannot be determined. 

33. Cf. Ezek. 16:24,25. 31. 36.48.49. 51. 52. 

34. 1 Cor. 5:Iff. 

35. Ecclus. 20:4? 

36. This allusion to the fall of Adam is regarded by Hamack (op. ciL, p. 192) as a remnant 
of a lost Book of Adam. Since it is the seduction of Adam by a woman that is spoken of, 
1 am inclined to understand the irrisio as ‘the giving of a smile* rather than as 'derision'. 

37. The words rursus haberet of the original have been left out in the translation because they 
seem to have no suitable sense in the context. 

38. The allusion toGen 6:2 (cf. Jud. 1:5f.) is typical of many ascetic writings which deal with 
the theme of PsT. Cf. de Singularitate Clericorum 28 (Hartel, CSEL 3. p. 204.10); 
Bachiarius, de Reparatione Lapsi c 4 (PL 20. 1059). 

39. Is. 5:8. 

40. Mic. 1:11 (?) 

41. Lam. 3:27-28. 

42. Ml 11:29. 

43. The text runs: Licet inmums a scelere stupri, et in hoc ipsut peccasti eo quod in 
conplexum foeminarum teneris. I do not regard Bulhan's correction licet a scelere stupri 
(s)et.. . peccasti as necessary, since the passage is understandable without it. 

44. Mt. 5:28. 

45. Cf. Dan. 13:32 (‘Susanna' in Apocrypha). 

46. Cf. 1 Cor. 10:13. 

47. Although this quotation agrees verbally with Didache 3.1, it may yet be asked whether 
PsT has quoted the Didache itself or one of the sayings of Sirach that are similar in content. 
The introduction of prudentia occurs again and again in this and similar quotations (e.g. lines 
109 and 420). Cf. Hamack. op. cit.. p. 195. 

48. 1 Cor. 9:25. 

49. 2 Kings 2:15. 

50. This charge to Enoch, unknown in the Bible, forms a kind of leitmotif in the extant 
Ethiopic and Slavonic versions of the Book of Enoch. 

51. Hamack (p. 193) is of opinion that this statement goes back to the Apocalypse of Elias. 
Bulhart and De Bruyne have proposed many corrections of the text. But the sense of the 
passage is clear without them. 

52. The source of this Paul-saying is unknown. 

53. Jn. 14:12. 

54. The text runs: Cur... mascelsive vir/eminam sumit ? The sive vir is regarded by Bulhart 
as a gloss on the strange mascel. which was constantly rejected by the grammarians and is 
to be found only in the Vetus Latina of the Codex Lugdunensis. 

55. In this passage Hamack finds the starting-point for the assumption that an apocryphal 
History of Noah is the source of these allusions. 

56. Jn. 20:17. 

57. As a parallel to this passage (Eciam et vas electionis Paul us, vere datus inexpug nabilis 
mums ex discentibus, exortatur missus) Hamack (p. 198) has referred to the Epistula 
Apostolorum c. 31 (cf. vol. 1, p. 267), where it is said: ‘And he will be among my elect a 
chosen vessel and a wall that does not fall.' In view of the numerous parallel passages which 
the ascetic literature presents (cf. de Centesima [ed. Reitzenstein, ZNW 15,1914] lines 191, 
278; Cyprian, de Habitu Virg. 23 (ed. Hartel. CSEL 3. p. 204.11]; Jerome, Ep. 22.5 (ed. 
Hilberg, CSEL 54, p. 149.11J; Bachiarus, de Fide (PL 20.1023]), I am inclined to carry beck 
the description of Paul as vas electionis, which goes back ultimately to Acts 9:25, to the 
influences of the ascetic literature just mentioned rather than to the Epistula Apostolorum. 


The Pseudo-Titus Epistle 

58. The scene is described in the surviving Acta Pauli cum Theda c. 18 (As 1.247, and see 
below, p. 242), but there the word of Paul is lacking. 

59. ML 5:16. 

60. Mk. 12:25 and pars. 

61. Ps. 4:8. 

62. Cf. Prov. 6:27. The use of this metaphor is typical of the anti-syneisactic writings. Cf. 
de Singul. Cler. 2 (ed. Hand, CSEL 3, p. 175.10); Jerome, £p. 22, c. 14(ed.HUberg,CSEL 
54, p. 161); Bachiarus, de Reparation* Lapsi c. 21 (PL 20, 1060). 

63. Is. 40:6. 

64. Exod. 32:6,28. 

65. Ps. 106:28. 

66. The source of this unknown log ion cannot be determined. The words euge me. euge me 
contemptores suae seruencia animae provide a typical example of the grammatical anarchy 
of the text Hamack suggests that sentencia should be struck ouL Bulhart writes, ‘Instead 
of the senseless sentencia 1 suggest sine paenitencia.' In spite of the obscurity of the 
expression the sense can in my opinion be clearly recognised. Hamack finds the expression 
el plurimum esse ad inimicum unintelligible. Bulhart translates it ‘to be much with the 
enemy, to attempt much devil’s work’. 

67. Cf.Judg. 21:12. 

68. Cf. Gal. 3:27. 

69. Mk. 3:17. 

70. Ps. 76:6. 

71. This fragment of the Apocalypse of Elias is not otherwise attested, although texts which 
engage in descriptions of the torments of hell are very numerous. Above all reference may 
be made to the Apocalypse b. Dei Genitricis de poems (ed. M.R. James, Apocrypha 
Anecdota. Cambridge 1893, pp. 115ff.), which circulated particularly in the Slavic area 
under the name ‘Chozdenie Bogorodicy po mukam'. Cf. E. Schilrer, ThLZ 33.1908.614; 
Mil. James. The Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament, 1920, p. 55; K.H. Schwarte, TRE 
III. 1978,274 (LiL). Cf. also the Apocalypse of Paul, below, pp.712ff. 

72. Cf. Wisd. 3:14. 

73. Apocryphon of Solomon? 

74. Ecclus. 30:19ff. 

75. An apocryphon that cannot be identified. 

76. a. 2 Cor. 11:3. 

77. An apocryphon that cannot be identified. It may perhaps have developed out of Lk. 11:22. 

78. This graiulacio is to be regarded as a free quotation from the Acts of John c. 113 (ed. 
Junod-Kaestli. CChrSA 1,1983, pp. 311-313), cf. below, p. 203f. 

79. The text runs: Aut numquid extra legem est quod docemus ut et ipsi daemones cum 
cor\fiterentur dyro diacono in adventu Johanms considera quid dixerint. Bulhart rightly 
suggests that the words considera quid dixerint should be regarded as a dittography. The 
deacon Dyrus mentioned here is identical with the ‘ Berus Diakon’ who appears in the Acts of John 
(c. 30) (cf. Junod-Kaestli, op. cit., pp. 181 -183, and below, p. 176). But the whole fragment has 
not survived. 

80. An apocryphon that cannot be identified. 

81. Ecclus. 9# 25:22? 

82. The translation of this missing fragment from the Acts of John comes from K. Schlferdiek. 

83. The text tuns: Si utique matrimonium deiunxit apostolus ne sit occasio delicti comulando. 
Bulhart replaces comulando by copulando. 

84. The sentence probably relates to the Acts of Andrew, although the point of reference cannot 
be identified from the extant remains of these Acts. Cf. below, p. 103. 

85. This togkn may be free citation from the Gospels (cf. Ml 10:16andMk. 13:9). 


XTV. Apostolic Pseudepigrapha 

86. Neh. 8:15. 

87. The source of this logion is unknown. The cypress must already at this time have counted as 
a symbol of the uoetx:-monastic life. 

88. What PsT means by this substantia conexa is not clear to me. 


90. We do not know what books of the patriarchs are refened to here. On this occasion Hamack 
(p. 193) has referred to the lost work 'r&v tgu&v riatetacxoiv’. Certainly the ’Cdnvenatio trium 
Patriarchum', composed in the form of a conversation between Basil the Great, Gregory of 
Nazianzus and John Chrysostom and widely disseminated in the Slavic area (cf. A. de Santos 
Otao,DiehandscMriftlicheUbertieferungderalisi.Apokryphen,U, 1981,196-222) hardly comes 
into question in this connection. Whether instead the reference could be to the Testaments of the 
three Patriarchs’ (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), which have come down to us in separate Greek, 
Coptic and Arabic versions (cf. J H. Charles worth etal, The 07 Pseudepigrapha, 1, London 1983, 
869-918), can also scarcely be established for lack of firm points of contact. 

91. Cf. Num. 15:32ff. 

92. Cf. Ezek. 22:6ff. 

93. CfEzek. 22:11. 

94. The text runs: Unde legislatoris vox sancto spintu cecimtante. Here (in my opinion without 
reason) Bulhart reads cetinitante. 

95. Dettt. 27:22. 

96.1 Kings 2:13-25. 

97. Hag. 2:11-14. 

98. Num. 19:22. 

99. The text runs: O imper sancto ut aequiperetur illt sacerdoti. Bulhart gives imperiare). 

100. Ml 25:41. 

101. Ps. 82:6f. 

102. The text runs: Hate ergo Jacient cum sit separatio inter iustum et prophanum, nec est 
partitipatio inter fidelem et iustum, et nulla sit segregacio inter mortem et vitam, vel considera 
quid sit inter perditum et saluum. Hamack suggests truer fide lem et ( in) iustum. Bulhart thinks 
’it should then also read ut instead of et'. 

103. a. Ezek. 22:18. 

104. According to the text id ergo commixtiestis omnes the id is to be construed as an accusative, 
and perhaps it ought not to be replaced by tdeo as Bulhart suggests. 

105. a. Gen. 49:3. 

106. Exod. 15:10. 

107. a. Zech. 5:8. 

108. Cf. Exod. 16:3. 

109. According to Hamack’i assumption we have to reckon here with a lost Apocryphon of 

110. Cf. APIThe c. 5 (cf. Aa I. 238 and below, p. 2390- 

111. Rev. 2:7. 

112. a. Rev. 22:2. 3. 

113. Caelestis ortus esca. De Bruyne has rightly understood onus as the genitive of bonus 
by contamination. But Bulhart thinks that ‘onus indicates origin: one makes do with this 

114. Cf.Rev. 2:26-28. 

115. Ml 10:32f. 

116. Rev. 3:21. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 


Wilhelm Schneemelcher 

I. Literature: Texts: R.A. Lipsius and M. Bonnet (eds.), Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha 1, 
1891; 11/1.1898; II/2,1903 (reprinted 1959); W. Wright, Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, 
edited from Syriac Mss. in the British Museum and other Libraries I (Syriac text), II (English 
trails.). London 1871; I. Guidi, 'Gli Atti apocrifi degli apostoli nei testi copti, arabi ed 
etiopici’ ( Rendiconti della R. Accademia dei Lined Note I-VD; vol. ID. 1887,1, part 2; II, 
pans; vol. IV. 1888,1, part 2 (text); Giomale della Societd Asiatica Italiana 

II. 1888 (Italian trans.); German summary of contents in Lipsius, Apostelgesckichten . Erg. 
89ff.; A. Smith Lewis. The Mythological Acts of the Apostles (Horae Semitkae IV, 1904: 
Arabic); E.A. Wallis Budge, The Contending! of the Apostles 1.1898; II. 1901 (Ethiopic); 
tcrits apocryphes sur les Apdtres. Traduction de C Edition arminienne de Venise (1) par 
Louis Leloir (CChrSA 3), Tumhout 1986. 

On the complete critical edition planned by the Association pour Litude dela literature 
apocryphe chritienne cf. F. Bov on, ‘Vers une nouvelle Edition de la literature apocryphe 
chrftienne: la Series apocryphorwn du Corpus christianorum '. Augustinianum XXIII, 
1983. 373-378. 

Translations: Michaelis. 216-438; James. 228-475; Erbetta. II; Moraldi. 11,935-1429. 

Studies: Lipsius, Apostelgesckichten-. H. Ljungvik, Studien zurSprachederapokryphen 
Apostelgesckichten (Uppsala Univ. Arsskrift 8). 1926; X. Kerfnyi. Die griechisch- 
orientalische Romaniiteratur in religionsgeschichtlicher Beleuchtung. 1927 (reprinted 
1962); R. S6der, Die apokryphen Apostelgesckichten und die romanhofie Literatur der 
Antike (WOrzburger Studien zur Altertumswiss. 3), 1932; M. Blumenthal, Formen und 
Motive in den apokryphen Apostelgesckichten (TU 48, 1), 1933; C.L. Sturhahn, Die 
Christologie der dltesten apokryphen Apostelakten (Theol. Diss. Heidelberg 1951); L. 
Fabricius. Die Legende im Bild des ersten Jahrtausende der Kircke. Der Einflufi der 
Apokryphen und Pseudepigraphen ouf die altchristliche und bytantinische Kunst, 1956; 
Vielhauer, Lit. gesch. 693-718; E. PKimacher, art. ‘Apokrypbe Apostelakten*. in PWRE, 
Suppl. XV, 1978, cols. 11 -70; R. McL. Wilson, art. 'Apokryphen II*. in TRE III, 1978,316- 
362 (on the AGO: 341-348); F. Bovon et ai„ Les Actes apocryphes des Apdtres. Christianisme 
et monde ptOen (Publications de la Facuit* deThteiogie de 1TJniversilf de Genfcve Na 4), Geneva 
1981 (Lit.); Augustinianum XXH1, 1983, fasc. 1/2: ‘Gli Apocrifi cristiani e cristianizzati'; N. 
Hoizberg.0era/ifliz/toma/i(ArtemisEinfilhnmgen,25), 1986(Lit); Dennis Ronald MacDonald 
(ed.). The Apocryphal Acts of Apostles (Semeia 38), 1986 (pp. 173-181: Bibliography). 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Abbreviations: AGG = apocryphal Acts of apostles; Acts = canonical Acts; AA = Acta 
Andreae (Acts of Andrew); AJ * Acta Johannu (Acu of John); API» Acta Pauli (Acts of 
Paul); APIThe ■ Acu Pauli et Thee la (Paul and Thecla); APt * Acu Petri (Acts of Peter); 
ActVerc « Actus Vercellenses (Acu of Peter); ATh = Acu Thomae (Acu of Thomas). 

2. General survey: When in this section the five great apocryphal Acte of 
Apostles (or better the surviving remains of these AGG) are brought together, the 
impression could easily arise that we have to do with a corpus of texts which in terms 
of form and content present a unity. It must however be emphasised from the outset 
that this impression is deceptive. Rather, the five works were first brought together 
only in Manicheism; as a result they became widespread in the West also, and were 
transmitted, probably in single manuscripts, down to the time of Photius. 1 Before 
that, and also alongside this collection, each of the five AGG had its own history of 
transmission, which is understandable when we take note of the differences in regard 
to time and place of origin, as well as in theological tendency. 

The question is, however, whether these works are to be regarded as a uniform 
kind of text, at least on the basis of their literary Gattung. This problem will be 
discussed in detail below. Here it need only be stated in advance, quite generally, that 
the five great apostolic Acte do not belong together, in literary terms, in any way that 
can be defined more precisely. They are however also - despite their unmistakable 
theological differences - to be reckoned to a particular phase in Church history, the 
2nd and 3rd centuries, and offer insights into a Christianity which sometimes 
diverges considerably from ‘official’ theology and churchmanship. 

A further aspect may also be mentioned: the AGG stand apart from the remaining 
Christian literature of the period by the fact that they do not discuss any theological 
or ecclesiastical problem theoretically, but that at their centre stands the life of an 
apostle, his deeds and his teachings. The motifs and stylistic resources are very 
diverse, and the relation to ancient literary models also cannot be explained in a single 
sentence (see below). But the central position of the apostle is not to be overlooked. 2 
This makes these works a starting-point for the later hagiographical literature, which 
set in on a grand scale with the rise of the veneration of the saints. The AGG 
undoubtedly influenced this literature, especially since individual parts (e.g. 
martyrdoms) were, evidently at an early date, lifted out of the original AGG and 
circulated separately. It is certainly not altogether easy, but probably rewarding, to 
follow up the question of when and how the process of transition from the AGG to 
the legends of the saints came about. 

These general remarks are intended in the first place to indicate that the five old 
AGG here brought together cannot be treated as a self-contained unity. Rather, 
scientific work on these texts will have to analyse and classify the individual works 
separately, without prejudice to the fact that there are also elements in common 
between them. 

This means that in this introduction it is possible to give a brief discussion of only 
a few problems, but that in accordance with the character of the present collection 
much greater importance attaches to the introductions to the individual AGG. This 
shift of emphasis is also suggested by the present state of research. In recent yean 
the AGG have again been accorded greater attention by scholars. On the one hand 
the preparation of a complete critical edition by the ‘Association pour l’dtude de la 



literature apocryphc chr6tienne ,J in the scries Corpus Chnstianorum, Series 
Apocryphonun has given impetus to the debate about the problems connected with 
these texts. On the otter hand, authors concerned with modem questions (e.g. in 
sociology) have laid hold of them. 4 However, not all the questions which have been 
thrown up are so new as some authors think, and the answers are by no means all 
convincing. The abundant discussion about the AGG has so far not yet led to any 
agreed picture. The differences between the various trends in scholarship are not to 
be overlooked. 5 Nevertheless it has become clear that there are some particularly 
important themes to which pre-eminent attention should be given*. Some of these 
themes may now be briefly discussed in what follows. 

3. On the transmission: A manuscript of the corpus of the AGG, such as Photius 7 
evidently had before him, has not survived. Rather we must resort, in reconstructing 
the individual Acts, to a plurality of witnesses, the value of which is however of 
differing levels. The history of the transmission is at the same time the history of the 
reception, the redaction and in pan also the ‘ecclesiastic is in g' of the AGG. 

The Lipsius-Bonnet edition, 1 which for its time was an admirable achievement 
and even today still has its value, rested upon a large number of Greek and Latin 
manuscripts, mostly of hagiographical content. Through the work of A. Ehrhard the 
number of the hagiographical manuscripts which come into question for the AGG 
was considerably increased.* The full utilisation of Ehrhard's work will certainly also 
benefit research into the apocrypha. It must however be noted that the extraction of 
older material from later hagiographical texts is a particularly difficult task. For only 
when reliable criteria are available can parts of the later texts be entered as 
constituents of the original Acts. Nevertheless the edition of the Acts of John by Junod 
and Kaestli (see below, p. 152) shows that along the way we can attain to 
improvements over against Lipsius-Bonnet. 

Today still other materials can be added. On the one hand, papyrus discoveries 
with parts of AGG have been brought to light (this holds above all for the API). On 
the other hand the importance which attaches to the many versions is becoming ever 
clearer. It is astonishing how strong an influence this literature had in the different 
linguistic and cultural areas. 10 In the evaluation of this rich material, as yet not fully 
opened up, we have to investigate in each individual case whether the translation is 
a faithful reproduction of a Greek Vorlage, or represents a stage of reception marked 
by redaction and further development of the original tradition. Further, we have to 
investigate whether the extant manuscripts do not attest a later stage of development 
within the linguistic area in question. This means that the numerous translations must 
first so far as possible be examined with regard to their own tradition history, and only 
then be compared with the Greek tradition. 11 Here one may at first be inclined to 
accord a greater significance to a Greek or Coptic papynis from the 4th century than 
to a manuscript from the 14th. But, as is well known, the age of a manuscript is no 
indication of the value of its tradition. There is no question that in the present 
collection these problems cannot be examined in detail. On the otter hand there is 
beyond doubt an important task for scholarship here. 

It may also be noted - as Vielhauer rightly emphasises 12 - that this situation of a 
fragmentary tradition, sometimes extant only in redactions, has its grounds in the 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

history of the canon. While the apocryphal gospels at least in large part sought to 
present the Gospel in a form independent of the canonical Gospels (see vol. I, p. 
77ff.), the AGG were probably never intended to be rivals to the canonical Acts. This 
emerges just as clearly from their content as from their literary form. 

4. The literary Gaining: There is still no exact and generally recognised 
definition of the kind of text to which the apocryphal Acts belong. One of the 
fundamental difficulties here is the fact that in terms of content the AGG are so varied, 
but also that several differences appear in their manner of presentation. On the other 
hand a literary relationship is not to be denied. But how is it to be defined more 

Especially under the influence of £. Rohde, these works have been assessed as 
a Christian form of the hellenistic novel. 11 Now it cannot be disputed that certain 
elements of the Greek novel also occur in the AGG. The question is, however, 
whether we may safely draw from this the conclusion that the AGG have accepted 
and merely Christianised the Gaming of the novel. In NTApo* (163ff.), F. Pfister 
maintained the thesis that it was a case of Christian travel and missionary aretalogies 
which belong to the ancient Gaming of the literature. Pfister here took up 

ideas of R. Reitzenstein, who emphasised in particular the model of the ‘aretalogies’ 
of prophets and philosophers. 14 

Rosa Sdder in 1932 15 examined in particular the individual motifs of the AGG, 
and endeavoured to draw the connecting lines from there to the hellenistic literature. 
In her view five main elements can be identified: 

1. the travel motif, 

2. the aretalogical element, i.e. the emphasis on the dperai and 6uvtifiet£. 
the marvellous aspect of the hero's powers; 

3. the teratologies! element, i.e. the representation of the wonder-world into 
which the apostles come: cannibals, talking animals, etc.; 

4. the tendentious element, especially in the speeches; 

3. the erotic element, which finds expression both in the love-motifs proper and 
also in the ascetic and encratite features. 

These motifs appear in various ways in the AGG, but through them also the 
differences between the individual works become clear. They have their models in 
various ancient kinds of text. 

One cannot in any case simply derive the AGG from the hellenistic novel. Nor 
have we a mixture of aretalogy (evidently considered by SOder as an independent 
Gaming) and hellenistic or sophistic novel, to which then still other elements have 
been added. It is likewise clear that the AGG are not fashioned after the model of 
Luke's Acts, just as they are not simply a continuation of the ancient aretalogies. 

It is iKX in itself out of the question that in early Christianity a new literary form 
could have been created out of the most diverse elements. But the fact that the AGG 
differ markedly from one another tells against this. To be able to determine the 
Gaming of the AGG correctly, we must according to Sdder set out from their purpose. 
This may be defined as entertainment, instruction and edification of the people, not 
so much of the educated. We may thus say that the AGG are ‘evidence of ancient 
popular narratives of the adventures, exploits and love affairs of great men, as now 



fixed in literary form and in a Christian spirit’. 14 Even if they are defined as popular 
narrative, that naturally does not exclude the possibility that their authors made use 
of the stylistic methods which were customary in their time. This explains the 
connections of various kinds with the hellenistic novel as with the aretalogies of 
philosophers, which are not, however, sufficient for us to assign the AGG to these 
stylistic categories. 

In NTApo 3 1 attempted to draw out the lines on the basis of Shder’s investigation 
of the AGG and to clarify their literary Gattung , taking up form-critical aspects. 

According to this, the composition of the AGG is to be understood as a literary 
activity on the part of their authors; they gave their own individual arrangement and 
form to the material, but in so doing they were frequently able to rely on older 
traditions. Here there are certain similarities with the process which led to the origin 
of the Gospels, as it is assumed by Form Criticism. We have thus to do with the 
fixation in writing of popular tradition. This explains the fact that the AGG are 
frequently composed of single strung together without any apparent 

connection. One is often led to suspect that the authors have inserted traditions which 
originally circulated separately (personal legends, local tales etc.) into the frame¬ 
work which they have created. 

In discussion of Pfister and Soder, Vielhauer has sought in similar fashion to 
determine the Gattung of the AGG, but has placed the accent somewhat differently. 17 
First we must mention his criticism of the use hitherto of the term ‘aretalogy’ as a 
description of Gattung. ‘Aretalogy’ is a statement of content, but not a characteri¬ 
sation for a kind of text (against Reitzenstein and Pfister). The description of the AGG 
as popular literature - for the people and not for the educated - tells us nothing for 
the question of Gattung (against Sdder). There were considerable differences of level 
in the Greek novel also. 

In terms of literary history, the AGG in Vielhauer's view belong in the context 
of the ancient novel. Travel reports (nepiofioi) and accounts of exploits (jiQd^eu;) 
are imitated in various ways. It is to be noted ‘that in terms of the history of tradition 
the individual stories, the Praxeis, are primary and the travel reports, the Periodoi, 
secondary' (716). Thus the AGG in their present shape are a combination of two 
literary forms. 

The connection with the novelistic literature of the ancient world, and at the same 
time the difference from the New Testament, is also clear from the individual 
narrative materials. Thus the tale withdraws behind the legend. Dialogue and 
monologue (these are something new in Christian literature) correspond to literary 

According to Vielhauer an important motive in the origin of the AGG. in addition 
to the demand for specifically Christian entertainment literature, was the increased 
interest in the apostles. Certainly there are already in Luke’s Acts traditional reports 
about the apostles (e.g. in the form of tales) which have beat worked into the book. 
But in the course of the 2nd century the need for more information about the apostles 
is growing. 11 Here they become more and more 9eux <5rv6peg, such as are known in 
die surrounding world. At the same time however they are put forward as bearers of 
tradition to support various opinions and doctrines. 

The AGG are thus not biographies (birth, childhood etc. are not presented). They 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

rather take up ‘the very old idea of the apostles as Ouch. avbQtc,, but develop it in 
literary terms in the form of the novelistic Praxeis and - re-shaping these - in that of 
the Periodoi. They are evidence for the acceptance of Gattungen of secular literature 
... into Christianity’ (718). Thus far Vielhauer, who in a few pages sett out the most 
important aspects of this literature, and at the same time indicates the questions which 
have still to be clarified in further work. 

In his fundamental article on the AGG, 1 * E. Plumacher comes to the conclusion 
that for various reasons ‘they are indeed so close to the Gattung of the hellenistic 
romance that they are scarcely to be understood as other than Christian variants of 
this Gattung' (col. 63). However, they are not simply novels, but represent a special 
literary Gattung which can be understood ‘as popular entertainment literature, 
marked by specific concerns which it seeks to further, a literature which has borrowed 
numerous elements from the hellenistic novel, especially the love-romance, as well 
as from the aretalogies of philosophers or of mission’ (col. 12).“ 

The AGG stand in the strongest contrast with Luke’s Acts ‘if one is not prepared 
to see a certain relationship between Acts and the AGG. albeit a very external one, 
in “the wish for more precise information about the activity of the other apostles (i.e. 
those of whom there is little or no mention in Acts) which was aroused by the ideas 
of the missionary work of the twelve, already enhanced at an early date” (P. 
Wcndland, Die urchristl. Lit.formen [1912* (col. 12). 

It is understandable that in the intensive work on the AGG in connection with the 
planned complete edition the problem of the literary Gattung should also be 
discussed. Both/27. Kaestli and E. Junod, the two editors of the AJ, have voiced their 
opinions on this question. 11 Although minor differences between the members of the 
Association are not to be overlooked (as the volume edited by Bovon shows), and 
there may perhaps be some modi fications in the course of the work, we may recognise 
a tendency to place the accent otherwise than has been done in research hitherto. 

Thus - in criticism of Sdder - the characterisation of the AGG as ‘popular 
literature’ is rejected (Kaestli, 66). But also one cannot speak of individual traditions 
which have been worked into them. They are to be understood as literary works, 
composed by a single person. 

Naturally the connection with the hellenistic novel cannot be denied. But the 
AGG cannot be defined as a Christian variety of the novel. Thus the miracle-stories 
of the apostles do not belong to the Gattung of the novel (Kaestli, 67). The AGG do 
not correspond to any Gattung of ancient literature, but are rather independent 
Christian productions under the influence of various Gattungen. 

The rejection of a view which was stimulated by the form-critical method (cf. 
NTApo 3 pp. 176ff.) is not so clearly expressed by Kaestli as by Junod. He too 
emphasises the literary character of the AGG, which he calls ’literature romanesque 
chrftienne du lie sifecle’ (280). A more precise characterisation of the Gattung is not 
however given. For Junod it is more important that we must assume ‘traditions 
eccl6siastiques’ about the activity and death of the apostles as the source for the AGG. 

In the novel we find stories which the author himself has thought out, but in the 
AGG the Church traditions taken over by the author (or his group), which are 
regarded as old and genuine, are remoulded. These traditions, however, cannot be 
separated out by literary criticism, since the AGG as we now have them are 



homogeneous creations by the authors concerned. Only parallels from outside this 
literature might help us further here. 

The authors of the AGG availed themselves of the 'Church traditions’ in order 
to create a hearing and gain recognition for their novelistic writings. The scenario 
and biographical scenes were invented by them, and are not in the nature of isolated 
traditions which have come down to them. But the ‘Church traditions’ are, as one 
might put it, the ‘native soil*. 

This is not the place for an extended discussion of these theses. In any case the 
question of the Gattung to which the AGG belong is only marginally dealt with by 
Junod. He contents himself with the term ‘ novelistic literature ’. Kaestli too, however, 
does not really come to any precise definition of the kind of text. This is somewhat 
surprising, since the AGG are treated by both as works of literature. It is further not 
to be overlooked that with their interpretation there is combined a certain aversion 
to Form Criticism, such as may also be met with elsewhere today. Finally, some 
people in this circle appear to be concerned for as early a date as possible for the AGG, 
which probably goes half-way to meet the acceptance of 'Church traditions’. Future 
research, which has undergone considerable stimulus through the work of the 
Association, will show whether and how far these theses are tenable. 

It is not surprising that it is precisely by members of the Association that 
considerable doubts have been expressed regarding the hypotheses of some Ameri¬ 
can scholars. 22 The works in question are above all those of Stevan L. Davies. Dennis 
Ronald MacDonald and Virginia Burns.' 0 

Even if these authors do not form a self-contained group, and there are certainly 
differences among them, a common tendency can still be identified: the AGG are to 
be ‘explained’ with the aid of sociology, psychology and feminist ideology. 
Somewhat cursorily we may formulate the basic idea thus: 

The AGG derive from groups of women who practised sexual continence, as an 
expression of their emancipation and their resistance to the patriarchal order in 
marriage, the family, in society and in the state. The AGG are documents of this 
‘revolt of the widows’ (this term including also the young women who renounced 
marriage). This basic pattern is enriched with various other elements. For one thing 
it is affirmed, indeed presupposed as certain, that all conventional ties such as 
marriage, the family, etc. are simply means to the enslavement of women. In early 
Christianity groups of women freed themselves from this slavery - as a consequence 
of the proclamation of the Gospel. For another, a literary thesis is also advanced with 
regard to the AGG: they are oral narratives which were recited and handed on by 
’widows’ in the women’s circles in which they lived (hence to some extent a fixation 
of the recitation of ‘old wives' tales’). The study of folk-lore allegedly provides the 
necessary comparative material for this. 14 

The contributions by Kaestli and Bov on in the collective volume Semeia 38 have 
already given voice to decisive objections. But one may probably take up position 
still more clearly against these ahistorical travesties: 

a) In these works the AGG are treated as a homogeneous Mock, without any 
reflection on the differences between the individual works. Thus in Davies the Acta 
Xanthippae (6th cent) can be put on a level with the old Acts of the 2nd and 3rd 
centuries. Problems of literary history are completely left aside. The relation to the 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

hellenistic novel is not further discussed, it is simply decided in the negative. 

b) The analysis of the narrative structure of the abstinence stories by V. Bumis, 
who adheres to the methods of V. Propp, a suffers from the fact that individual scenes 
are tom from their context, and the application of Fropp’s categories is very violently 
done. Above all, the oral character of the original narrative probably cannot be 
proved from the structure of a story. At many points the parallels from the Greek 
novel tell against any such assumption. 

c) The one-sided interpretation of all abstinence stories as reports about liberated 
women and their struggle against the patriarchalist authorities manifestly overlooks 
the fact that the bfKQaxtxa mentioned in the AGG is reported, and required, not only 
of women but also of men. 2 * It also has wholly different spiritual roots from the 
modem liberation movement. 

d) It is a rewarding question, even if not an altogether new one, what historical 
value legends have. 11 That here the social milieu in which narratives of this kind are 
to be located should also be taken into account is really self-evident, only one cannot 
in the process simply bracket out other questions. In our case it should not be 
overlooked that many features of the AGG are taken over as t&ux from the 
hellenistic novel (e.g. the heroines are beautiful, rich and belong to the upper classes), 
and thus are not very appropriate for an analysis of the social structure of the Christian 
communities in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, about which in any case we do not know 
so much as is often affirmed today. It may be emphasised once again that the 
narratives of the AGG are determined by other motives than the social criticism of 
modem sociologists. 

e) We block off any understanding of the AGG when - as manifestly happens in 
the works under discussion - we isolate them from the total context of Church history 
in the early centuries. The fact that the heroines as the decisive figures are drawn into 
the centre of the treatment means that the apostles, with whom the AGG are primarily 
concerned, withdraw to the margin. But this distorts our view, for the fact is that the 
AGG are only rightly understood when we set them in place in the history of Church 
and theology in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. They belong in the discussion of that time, 
which had such portentous results, regarding ‘apostle’ and ‘apostolic’. 

Sociology, psychoanalysis and feminist ideology may be of use in another place. 
As a basis for the interpretation of Greek Christian texts of the 2nd and 3rd centuries 
they are scarcely helpful. 

This survey of the various attempts to clarify the literary genus of the AGG shows 
a motley picture. In conclusion a few points may be mentioned which seem to me 
important for their interpretation. Their literary model was not Luke’s Acts - whether 
it was known to the authors or not. Rather they are connected in various ways with 
the hellenistic novel. The authors of the AGG used this Gattung, and out of it created 
a Christian text form of their own. Formal elements of the Praxeis and Periodoi 
literature are particularly influential. Other motifs (such as R. Sdder especially has 
identified) were likewise taken over from the novels. 

The AGG took on their special stamp through the position of the apostles. They 
(and not the liberated women) stand in the centre of the works, and it was because 
of them that the AGG were written. They are intended to be the bearers of the 
message, which is proclaimed in a form which cones close to the novel. So here die 



aims of entertainment, instruction and religious propaganda are combined into a 
unique Gattung, which represents the starting-point for the later hagiography. 

With their works the authors of the AGG created 'without doubt a new type of 
fictional prose narrative, which could with some justice be called early Christian 
romance. Certainly one will no longer reckon it to the Gattung of the ancient novel, 
but see here the beginning of the latter's acceptance’. 2 * 

We probably cannot regard the Vitae of the philosophers as a model for the 
Gattung of toe AGG.® Biography and die writing of history are remote from these worics. 

It is a debated question whether the authors of the texts worked to any extent worth 
mentioning with traditional material which had come down to them, or whether, like 
the authors of the novels as men of letters, they freely invented all that they wrote. 
If we decide for the first possibility, then there is the further question, of what nature 
the traditional material was: popular legends, Church tradition or oral narratives? 

In my opinion it is not to be denied that in the AGG personal and local legends 
have been worked over, which do not seem to have been invented by the author of 
(he work in question. Sometimes it is a matter of popular narrative (e.g. APt 9ff.: the 
talking dog; APt 13: the dried fish; AJ 37: the destruction of the temple of Artemis; 
AJ 60f.: the obedient bugs, etc.). Sometimes however it can also be assumed that texts 
already given a literary form have been worked in (e.g. the Thee la cycle in the API?). 
On the other hand the framework and the composition of the several AGG must be 
regarded as in each case the work of an author about whose person - except with the 
API - we know nothing. 

The separation of tradition and composition is difficult, and certainly cannot be 
undertaken in the same way and according to uniform criteria with all the AGG. Here 
we should not get things out of focus by dating them as early as possible, or attempting 
to bring their theological statements into a system. Recourse to other disciplines is 
of only limited assistance. 

5. The place of the AGG in theology and Church history: Lipsius’ theory that 
the AGG were of gnostic origin for a long time influenced research. 50 He attempted 
to explain die fact that in these texts there are many passages which could not be 
regarded as gnostic by the assumption of ‘catholic’ redactions (which is partly 
correct). Over against this C. Schmidt and A. von Hamack affirmed the ‘catholic’ 
origin of the AGG. 51 More precisely, they saw in them the products of a ’vulgar 

Today a sharp antithesis between ‘gnostic’ and ‘catholic’ with reference to the 
AGG can no longer be maintained. For one thing, the picture of Gnosis has so greatly 
changed in recent decades, through many new discoveries and intensive research, 
and above all it has fanned out into a manifold spectrum, so that to declare the AGG 
‘gnostic’ would be to say absolutely nothing. For another, it has become clear that 
‘Gnosis' and 'early Catholicism’ cannot simply be set in opposition to one another 
as fixed quantities. The boundaries in the 2nd century were evidently fluid. 12 It is 
therefore not surprising that we cannot speak of any uniform theological thrust of the 
texts. Rather there are considerable differences between the several Acts, and 
moreover differences can be detected even within a single work. This is probably 
connected on the one hand with the authors ’ use of traditions, already mentioned. On 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

the other hand it is to be observed that these writings are intended to propagate the 
peculiar opinions of the circles in which they arose, and here "Church” material was 
not excluded as a matter of course. We may concur with PlQmacher when he writes: 
‘The theological ideas which stamped Christian thought in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, 
as well as the convictions which governed the piety of the individual Christian in this 
period, have left manifold traces in the AGG, which often enough reveal a 
remarkable conjunction and co-existence of the most varied ideas, sometimes to be 
reconciled with one another only with difficulty: consistency and uniformity are 
remote from the AGG. entirely in conformity with their literary genus, which has no 
interest in the building of theological systems, so that their classification in the 
context of the history of early Christian theology and piety is not a simple muter' 

PlQmacher himself - with due consideration of tire differences between the 
individual acts - has singled out two aspects, which could not indeed serve as the basis 
for a theological unity of all the AGG, but which do point to a religious and 
theological milieu, namely that dogmatically still by no means firmly articulated 
‘climate’ in the Church in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, in which the AGG came into 
being. For one thing there are the unmistakable 'ervcratne' features which occur in 
all the AGG. Here it is above all, but not exclusively, a question of sexual continence. 
In this respect they are evidence for a tendency widespread in the ancient world and 
in early Christianity, the motives for which were certainly varied. 14 In the Church 
from the time of Paul (1 Cor. 7) there was much discussion regarding this ideal. For 
a long time it stood ‘on the border-line between orthodoxy and heresy’. 15 This 
characterisation probably applies to the AGG both on this point and as a whole. 

For another, PlQmacher in his cautious survey has also set out the varied 
relationships of the AGG to Gnosis. This problem too cannot be reduced to any 
simple formula. There are pieces of tradition influenced by Gnosis (e.g. in the AJ), 
but there is also anti-gnostic polemic (API). The variety of the theological statements 
shows not only the deficient interest of this literature in dogmatic theory, but also that 
there are no sharp boundaries between Gnosis and ‘Catholicism’ in this period. ‘The 
groups to whom we owe the AGG must at least in part have stood rather on the margin 
than in the centre of the wide area covered by the term "catholic vulgar Christianity”’. 54 

This means that we cannot characterise the texts as a whole under one 
comprehensive label. There is no theology of the AGG. Rather we have to work out 
the specific theological statements and the Sitz im Lebtn for each individual work, 
and also for the several traditions contained therein. 17 This will frequently lead only 
to hypothetical results, since the necessary material for comparison is too fragmen¬ 
tary. But only so can we assign the AGG to their place in the history of theology and 
of the Church. 

Here one thing will become clear: just because of the juxtaposition and mingling 
of very diverse elements the AGG are a valuable corrective to the picture of the 
Church in the 2nd and 3rd centuries which we can reconstruct from the writings of 
the theologians. Here marginal groups, with an independent tradition and an often 
very unreflecting grasp of the faith, find a voice. It can hardly be said to what social 
stratum we should assign the author and his addressees. 11 For this question it is 
probably not unimportant that it is not so much systematic theological thinking that is 
dominant, bur rather a multiplicity of themes which interest the ordinary Christian people. 



It is common to all the AGG that they accord to the apostle concerned a pre¬ 
eminent role. The message which these works are intended to convey to their readers, 
in the form of a novelistic narrative, is bound up with the person of the apostle and 
presented in his speeches. The apostle thus • just as in several apocryphal gospels - 
becomes the bearer of a specific tradition. It is not surprising that the speeches, which arc 
given so great a significance, are in the later revisions largely eliminated or altered. 59 

In the AGG various aims and intentions are combined: the need for entertainment 
(in place of the ‘ heathen ’ novel), interest in the apostles as bearers of special traditions 
and belief in the power of the (Mot <5v6Qe§, the apostles, who point the right way 
to salvation. It is not the thin air of abstraction that is dominant in them, but the 
massive belief in miracle of the common people, or more accurately of small 
marginal groups in the Church. For the historian who is concerned with the process 
of theological clarification in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and constantly comes across 
the problem of the ‘apostolic tradition ’, they are an interesting and important source. 



1. Cf. on this K. Schkferdiek. below, p. 87ff. 

2. Cf. inter alia the contributions of Pricur, Bovon and Junod in Bovon ei al., Les Actes 
apocryphes des Apdtres. 

3. Cf. F. Bovon. ‘ Ven une nouvelle Edition de la Literature apocryphe chrftienne: la Series 
apocryphorum du Corpus christianorum', Augustinianum XXIII. 1983.373-378; F. Bovon 
et al., Les Actes apocryphes des Apdtres, 1981. The Acts of John have appeared as the first 
edition: on this see below, pp. 152ff. 

4. Cf. for example Dennis Ronald MacDonald (ed.). The Apocryphal Acts of Apostles 
(Setneia 38) 1986 (literature). 

5. They may be readily found in the Semeia 38 volume cited in note 4. 

6. Cf. Jean-Danie! Kaestli, ‘Les principaies orientations de la recherche sur les Actes 
apocryphes', in Bovon et al.. Les Actes ... 49-67; F. Bovon/E. Junod, ‘Reading the 
Apocryphal Acts of Apostles', in Semeia 38, 161-171. 

7. Cod. 114; on this see Schiferdiek, below pp. 87ff 

8. Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, ed. R_A. Lipsius et M. Bonnet. 1(1891). 11/1 (1898), II/2 
(1903); reprinted 1959. 

9. A. Ehrhard, Oberlieferung und Be stand der hagiographischen und homiletischen 
Literatur der griechischen Kirche, von den Anf&ngen bis aim Ende des 16. Jahrhunderts (TU 
50-52), 1939-1952. As an example we need only refer to the JS text of the Acts of Andrew (see 
below, p. 105), the manuscript evidence for which is adduced in Ehrhard 1,243 r and II, 71*’. 

10. Cf. the references in vol. 1,62ff.; J.-D. Kaestli, op. ciL (note 6 above). 5Iff. The various 
contributions in Augustinianum XXIII, 1983 are important. 

11. An exemplary investigation of this kind is A. de Samos Otero, Das kirchenslavische 
Evangelism des Thomas (PTS 6), 1967, on which see vol. I. pp. 439ff. 

12. Lit. gesch. 693. 

13. Cf. E. Rohde, Der griechische Roman und seine Vorldufer, 1867 ( 5 1974); E. von 
Dobschiitz, ‘ Der Roman in der altchristiichen Literatur ’, Deutsche Rundschau 28,1902,87- 
106; N. Holzberg (Der antike Roman. Eine Einfuhrung (Artemis Einfilhiungen 25), 1986) 
offers an excellent introduction to the problems of the hellenistic novel from the point of 
view of present-day research. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

14. Cf. R. Reitzenstein, HeUemstische Wundererzahlungen, 1909. It may be emphasised here - 
as already in vol. I. p. 86 note 10 - that ‘aretalogy’ as the description of a literary Gaming is 
problematic, and indeed 'inappropriate' (Vielhauer. Lit. gesch. 71S). 

15. R- Sdder, Die apokryphen Apostelgescfuchten unddte romanhafte LiteraturderAnnke, 1932. 
16.Sdder.op.ctL 187. 

17. Lit. gesch. mm. 

18. Vielhauer does not go into the relation of this tendency to other theological phenomena of the 
tune. However, it is naturally important for the understanding of the AGO. Cf. below, pp. 83ff. 

19. PWRE, Suppl. XV. 1978. cols. 11 -70. 

20. On the problem of aretalogy, see above, pp. 78f. 

21. Cf. among others J.-D. Kaestli, 'Les prindpales orientations de la recherche sur les Acres 
apoayphesdes Ap6trcs\in F. Bovon etal„ Les Actes ... , 49-67, esp. 57ff; E. Junod, Creations 
romanesqueset traditionseccl6siastiquesdans les Actesapo a yphesdesAp6tres’.giAi«guginicuium 
XXIII, 1983.271-285. 

22. Cf. the interesting collection of essays, Semeia 38 (above, note 4). 

23. Stevan L. Davies, The Revolt of the Widows: The Social World of the Apocryphal Acts, New 
York 1980; id.. •Women, Tamilian and the Acts of Paul', in Semeia 38.139-144; Dennis Ronald 
MacDonald, 77ie Legend and The Apostle: The Battle for Paul in Story and Canon, Philadelphia 
1983; id.. The Acts of Andrew and Matthias and the Acts of Andrew', in Semeia 38.9-26; - 
Virginia Burrus, 'Chastity as Autonomy; Women in the Stories of the Apocryphal Acts’, in 
Semeia 38.101-118. 

24. Cf. the literature listed in Semeia 38, 173ff. 

25. Vladimir Propp, Morphology of the Folktale . Austin. M968. 

26. Cf. Kaestli in Semeia, 130f., who gives some examples. 

27. A. Hamack in 1890, in a lecture sail worth reading today, already made some remarks 
deserving consideration on the theme of ‘Legends as historical sources’; Reden undAttfs&ae I, 

28. Holzberg (above, note 13), 29 

29. On these biographies cf. Richard Goulet, 'Les Vies de philosophies dans l'Antiquire tardive 
et leurpartAemysrenque', in BovanetaJ . Les Actes .... 161-208. With this cf. Eric Junod.'Les 
Vies de philosophies et les Acres apoayphes: poursuivent-ils un dessein similaire?’. in Les Actes 
.... 209-219. 

30. Cf. Lipeius. Apostelgeschichten 1,4ff.; J.-D. Kaestli in Bovon et al., Les Actes .... 53-57. 

31. Carl SchmidL Die alien Petnisakten (TU 24. 1). 1903; A. Hamack. Lit. gesch. D 2.169ff. 

32. Cf. above all W. Bauer. Rechtgldubigkeit und Ketzerei un Sltesten Christentum, M964 (ET 
Orthodoxy and Heresy, 1971). 

33. Plttmacher. op. ciL (above, note 19). col. 43. 

34. On the problem of Enaadsm cf. in addition to Pliimacher's survey (op. ciL, cols. 43-48) 
especially H. Chadwick, art. 'Enkrateia' in RAC V. 1960, cols. 343-365 (Lit). The question of 
the encratite origin and stamp of the AGG is dealt with by Yves Tissot, ‘Encradsme et Acres 
apocrypha', in Bovon etal., les Actes .... 109-119. It may be noted that it will not do lo assign 
the AGG to a sect like the Encradres presented by Epiphamus (.Pan. 47). In the AGG we should 
better speak of the predominant role of the 'preaching of continence' (predominant - despite 

35. Chadwick, op. ciL, col. 355. 

36. PlUmacher, op. ciL. col. 54. 

37. An outstanding example for the work required on the AGG is the essay by K. SchUferkiek. 
Hexkunft und Inreresse da alien Johannesaksen'. ZNW 74,1983,247-267. 

38. A noteworthy contribution on this question is Robert F. Stoops, Jr., ‘Patronage in the Acts cf 
Peter', in Semeia 38,91-100. 

39. Cf. for example the treatment of the Acts of Andrew by Gregory ofTours,»« below, pp. 118ff. 



The Manichean Collection of apocryphal Acts ascribed to Leucius 

Knul Schaferdiek 

Photius in his Bibliotheca describes a collection of five apocryphal books of Acts of 
Apostles: 1 ‘...a book, the so-called joumeyings (jK^iofioi) of the apostles, in which 
are contained the Acts of Peter, John, Andrew, Thomas, Paul. These were written, 
as the book itself makes clear, by Leucius Charinus. The style is thoroughly uneven 
and corrupt, for in places it uses well-turned constructions and expressions, but for 
the most part common and hackneyed ones, while it shows no trace of the plain artless 
style and native grace which characterises the diction of the evangelists and the 
apostles. It is stuffed with foolishness, inconsistency and incongruity; for it says that 
there is One who is God of the Jews, who is evil, whose servant Simon Magus became; 
and another is Christ, whom it calls good; 3 but it mixes and confuses everything by 
calling him both Father and Son. 1 It also says that he was not truly made man, but 
only appeared to be, and that he often appeared to his disciples in many forms, as a 
young man, as an old man, as a child, as an old man again and again as a child, as 
larger and smaller and then of great size, so that sometimes his head even reached 
up to heaven. 4 It also invents many foolish absurdities about the Cross, 9 saying that 
it was not Christ that was crucified, but another in his place, and that for this reason 
he derided those who crucified him.* It rejects lawful marriages 1 and says that every 
birth is evil and a work of the evil one;' and it absurdly states that the creator of the 
demons is another,* and it concocts senseless and childish (stories about) resurrec¬ 
tions of dead men and of cattle and other animals. 10 And the Iconoclasts believe that 
in the Acts of John there is teaching directed against the (holy) pictures (or icons). 11 
In short this book contains innumerable childish, improbable, ill-conceived, false, 
foolish, self-contradictory, profane and godless things; and if anyone called it the 
source and mother of all heresies he would not be far from the truth.’ The Acts of the 
second Council of Nicaea (787), which quote from the Acts of John, adduce these 
not as an isolated writing but as part of a collection of ‘pseudepigraphic joumeyings 
of the holy apostles'. 12 

Information provided by Eusebius might give the impression that Origen already 
knew a similar collection of five apocryphal books of apostolic Acts: in his Church 
History 11 he writes as follows: ‘The holy apostles and disciples of our Saviour were 
dispersed about the whole world. Thomas, as the tradition has it, was allotted Parthia, 
and Andrew Scythia, and John Asia; and here he remained till he died at Ephesus. 
Peter must have preached in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia and Asia, among 
the Jews of the Dispersion; and when at last he came to Rome he was crucified head 
downwards, since be had requested that he might suffer in this manner. What need 
is there to speak of Paul, who “accomplished the Gospel of Christ from Jerusalem 
as far as Illyria" (Rom. 15:19) and afterwards was martyred at Rome under Nero? 
- These are the express terms which Ori gen uses in the third book of his Commentaries 
on Genesis.’ But the examination of this text by A von Hamack and E. Junod, 14 
however different their results may be in other respects, shows that his notes about 
Peter and Paul on the one hand and his statements about Thomas, Andrew and John 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

on the other probably go back to different sources, and the last can scarcely rest upon 
corresponding Acts of apostles. On the other hand the Manichean Psalm-book 
preserved in a Coptic translation, in one of its 'pilgrim psalms’ (\paXpoi Zapaxcurdiv), 
presents within a list of examples for patience in suffering a passage from which it 
is clear that the author knew the ancient Acts of Peter, Andrew, John, Thomas and 
Paul. After the example of Jesus and before that of Mam comes the following list of 
apostles and female pupils of apostles. IJ 

“All the apostles who endured their pains: 

Peter the apostle, who was crucified head downwards, 1 * 
how many torments did he suffer... with this purity. 

Andrew the apostle - his house was set ablaze under him. 17 
He and his disciples - hail to them, they were crucified. 1 ' 

The two sons of Zebedee were made to drink the cup of the ... 

John the virgin - he too was made to drink of the cup, 
imprisoned fourteen days, that he might die of hunger, 1 ’ 
and also James, he was stoned and slain, 

all cast their stones upon him, that he might die under the storm 20 
This again Thomas endured m his martyrdom (lit.: cross): 
four soldiers pierced him at once with the point of their lances, 
they encircled him on four sides and let his blood flow ... 21 
How many mysteries did he accomplish; many a sign did he fulfil. 

The apostle Paul - they proceeded against him and caused him to die. 

How great is their wrath - he gave up his spirit, he did not escape. 

I too have endured what he received, before this present day. 

He was put into a basket, which was lowered outside the wall. 22 
All these (sufferings) he bore. He did not weary nor [flinch]. 

He left the vicinity(?) of his Lord, knowing that... 

Thee la, the lover of God, was matte to mount the pyre. 

She received the sign of the Cross, stepped into the fire rejoicing. 

Yet she was not put to shame, naked in the midst of the throng. 21 
She was cast to the bears, the lions were started against her. 

She was bound on the bulls, the seals were let loose against her. 24 
All these (sufferings) she bore, she did not flinch nor [yield?]. 

A crown it is that she wishes; purity it is she strives for. 

Even so the blessed Drusiana, she too endured the like, 
imprisoned fourteen days, like her master, her apostle. 21 
Maximilla and Aristobula - great torment was brought upon them. 2 * 

What is the profit, that they accepted this? Purity it is, for which they contend. 

In the material taken from the Acts named 27 there are inserted, in addition to a 
line about the psalmist’s own experience (142.33), one about the sons of Zebedee, 
who ’were made to drink the cup' (142.22) and two about the stoning of James 
(142.55f.), which evidently confuse the Lord’s brother with the son of Zebedee. The 
statement about the sons of Zebedee and the cup is certainly not a reference to any 
specific incident, but like Mk. 10:38f. par. intended metaphorically, just as at 143.17 


the suffering of Mani also is described as being made to drink of the cup. The 
statement that John was made to drink of the cup (cf. Mk. 10:38f.;Mt. 10:22f.)isalso 
to be understood correspondingly. It is only filled out in terms of content by the 
following reference to his incarceration. The lines about the sons of Zebedee only 
form a kind of summary rubric for the statements about John and James. The 
statement that the latter was stoned supplements the report about John, by association 
and in correspondence with the immediately preceding treatment of the other 
apostolic pair of brothers, Peter and Andrew, through some information about his 
brother James, who was possibly simply taken from some list of apostles 1 * handed 
down in Manichean circles. The statements about Paul are in similar fashion actually 
exparxled by association throughastatement about the psalmist himself. There is therefore 
no reason for not seeing in this enumeration of the apostles who were patient in suffering 
a reflection of the collection, also attested elsewhere, of the five ancient apostolic Acts. 

It has also left traces at another point in the Manichean Psalm-book, in a Psalm 
of Heracleides which illustrates the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Mt. 25:1 - 
13) by examples of true watchfulness. 1 *. The series begins with Jesus and culminates 
in Mani. After the example of Jesus there follows first a list of his twelve disciples, 30 
which adduces James the son of Alphaeus as Alphaeus and confuses James the son 
of Zebedee with the Lord's brother. That Judas also appears here, in conflict with the 
view of the psalm, as a negative example among others wholly positive, points to the 
conclusion that this list has been taken over as a fixed block. Among the statements 
about the individual apostles deriving from New Testament or extra-biblical 
tradition, or from tradition which at any rate cannot be verified elsewhere, there is 
a reflection of the narratives of the ancient apostle Acts at the most in the report about 
the activity of Thomas in India, but the description of him as a merchant tells against 
a direct link with the Acts of Thomas itself. 11 The list of apostles accordingly does 
not provide any indication either for or, as J.D. Kaestli would assume, 11 against the 
existence of a clearly defined corpus of apostolic Acts in Manichean use. Then follow 
as further examples the names of four women from canonical and apocryphal gospel 
tradition. Mary and Martha, Salome and Arsenoe,” and finally as a last group a series 
of female disciples of apostles is added: 34 

A despiser of the body is Theda, the lover of God. 13 

A shamer of the serpent is the faithful Maximilla; 14 

A recipient of good news is Iphidama her sister also, imprisoned in the prisons. 17 

A contender in the fight is Aristobula the steadfast. 11 

A giver of light to others is the noble Eubula, drawing the heart of the governor. 1 * 

A [woman] that loves her master is Drusiana, the lover of God, shut up for 

fourteen days, seeking after her apostle. 40 

... who was found is Mygdonia in the land of India. 41 

Here too the ancient apostle Acts are again marked off as a closed group, and even 
if the name ofEubula should not point to the Acts of Peter that cannot with J.D. Kaestli 
be interpreted as an indication that the five Acts did not form a clearly defined 
collection in the Manichean tradition; 41 that would be to try the capacity of an 
argumentum e silentio much too far. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Towards the end of the 4th century, finally, the Manichean Faustus of Mile vis 
in his anti-catholic treatise appeals in his discussion of the Manichean attitude to 
marriage to the report in the Acts of Paul about Thecla's conversion to continence, 41 
as well as to the word ofthe Lord in Mt. 19:12, and then writes that he foregoes citing 
Peter. Andrew, Thomas and John as further witnesses. ‘These rather I pass over, as 
I said, since you have excluded them from the Canon, and in your blasphemous turn 
of mind are able to ascribe to them only teachings of the devil’. 44 With this Faustus 
sums up concretely and precisely the reports found elsewhere about the Manichean 
use of apocryphal Acts, and there is no ground for calling in question, with J.O. 
Kaestli, the view that within the Manichean literature they formed a clearly defined 
collection handed down as such, 41 especially since he confuses this question with the 
idea that the acceptance of such a corpus of necessity entails its possession of a 
canonical validity, which in his view was accorded by the Manicheans solely to the 
canon of Mani’s writings. The transmission of the five Acts as a closed collection 
in itself says nothing whatever about the degree of binding force ascribed to them, 
while on the other side the Manichean Faustus and also the former Manichean 
Augustine allow us to see that a certain degree of landing force was definitely 
accorded to the Acts included in the collection, at any rate in the circle of the Latin 
African Manicheans: the former implicitly by his statement that on the Church side 
these writings had been excluded from the Canon, the latter by his use of them to 
refute Manichean opponents with texts which for them themselves were of binding 
force. 44 

The first-hand evidence available in the Manichean Psalm-book and in Faustus 
cannot be discredited by reference to the fact that the patristic testimonies for 
Manichean use of apocryphal Acts do not mention any collection, and that none of 
their enumerations includes all five ofthe Acts in question. 47 The extent to which anti- 
heretical writers possessed an exact and direct knowledge of the literature of the 
groups opposed certainly varied from case to case, and also their readiness to provide 
themselves and their readers with factually accurate and basic information about 
them is, in view of their preconceived opinions about this literature, frequently 
limited. Their notices are not a corrective to the Manichean witnesses, but must rather 
be interpreted on the basis of the latter. The Manicheans, so Philaster of Brescia 
writes towards 390 in his heresiological compendium, 41 used the report about what 
the apostle Andrew brought about on his journey from Pontus to Greece, and 
‘therefore’, so it continues, ‘the Manicheans also and others have such Acts of the 
blessed Andrew and the blessed evangelist John and likewise those of the apostle 
Peter as well as the blessed apostle Paul*. In them the apostles worked ‘great signs 
and wonders, so that (tame) animals (pecudes ), dogs and (wild) animals ( bestiae ) 
spoke’. This notice betrays a knowledge, whether acquired by Philaster himself or 
mediated to him by another source, of the itinerary m the ancient Acts of Andrew as 
well as of various stories of talking animals, the enumeration of which matches the 
stock of such stories contained in the extant five ancient Acts. There is mention of 
a talking dog in the Acts of Peter** • the plural may be understood as pure 
generalisation. In addition talking pecudes and bestiae are mentioned, and this 
distinction forbids our thinking solely of the talking 1km in the Acts of Paul.* Rather 
the stories about talking asses in the Acts of Thomas 11 are also in view. That the latter 



Acts do not appear in the series of the apostolic Acts named by Philaster can then only 
be the result of a defective or superficial enumeration. 

According to Photius, the Manichean Agapius relied upon ‘the so-called Acts of 
the Twelve Apostles and especially those of Andrew’. 51 To judge from Photius’ 
report, Agapius appears to have been concerned in a special degree about the 
Manichean woridng-up of Christian tradition, and his Heptalogos is named along 
with the writings of Mani and other Manichean literature in the anti-Manichean 
Seven Chapters , 5J perhaps to be ascribed to Zacharias Rhetor (d. after 536); this is 
probably an indication that he possessed a certain significance for Manichean 
canvassing among Christians. In the list of the twelve disciples of Mani handed on 
by Peter of Sicily (second half of 9th cent.) and Photius he appears in the tenth place, 54 
while on the other hand Photius has the impression that he entered into debate with 
the doctrine of Eunomius (d. 392/5); 53 but neither of these two conflicting reports may 
offer a reliable fixed point for locating him chronologically. We shall probably not 
go astray if we assume that the ‘Acts of the Twelve Apostles’ used by him are the 
collection of the five ancient Acts, and regard the title as a hyperbolical formulation 
corresponding to the description of Luke’s Acts as ‘Acts of the’ or even ’of all the 
apostles’ or ‘of the twelve apostles’. 5 * If the Acts of Andrew had an outstanding 
significance for Agapius and for Manichean canvassing among Christians, 57 this may 
provide an explanation for the remarkable collocation in Philaster's report of the Acts 
of Andrew on the one hand and the collection of Acts including the Acts of Andrew 
on the other, here evidently two pieces of information have been linked together, one 
about the use of the Acts of Andrew by the Manicheans and a second about the cotpus 
of apostolic Acts in use among them and others. The latter itself appears not to have 
remained altogether unnoticed in Greek Christianity also in the 4th century. The Acts 
of Philip, domiciled in encratite and monastic circles in Asia Minor in this period, 
apparently hark back to all five of the Acts united in this collection, although this is 
not equally clear for each of them. 51 

Light is also shed upon a further group of witnesses by the Manichean evidence 
and the statements of Philaster confirmed by it. In his debate with the Manichean 
Felix (398), Augustine seeks to smite his opponent with his own weapons by referring 
to a passage which can no longer be verified from ‘apocryphal writings’ which are 
’in the Acts composed by Leucius (Leutius), which he wrote as alleged apostolic 
Acts', and some years later Bishop Evodius of Uzala (El Alia in the north of Tunisia), 
a friend of Augustine’s, quotes the same passage with the same indication of its 
source in his work' On Faith against the Manichees ’. 54 In the same document Evodius 
further adduces two stories from the Acts of Andrew, which are to be found ‘in the 
Acts of Leucius, which he wrote under the names of apostles’.* 0 All three passages 
presuppose coherent apocryphal apostolic acts, assigned to a common author, as a 
firmly defined entity in Manichean literature; they do not state its compass, but it is 
sufficiently clearly and reliably attested by the testimony ofFausrus, and they know 
this collection under the same author’s name which Photius four and a half centuries 
later will take in an expanded form from the Greek exemplar of the five joumeyings 
of the apostles which he examined. 

The Manichean Psalm-book goes back to the early period of the formation of the 
Manichean Church, and hence the collection of the ‘Joumeyings’ which it already 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

presupposes must also have been completed not too late in the third quarter of the 
3rd century;* 1 on the other hand it can scarcely have come into being very much 
earlier, in so far as its dissemination points to the conclusion that it was first put 
together in Manichean circles. In the course of its expansion Manicheism seems then, 
with its handing-on of this corpus and the creation of a Latin translation, to have 
imparted to the Church of the West the ‘Greek gift’ of a knowledge of the Acts of 
Andrew, John and Thomas, which had their home in Christian splinter groups in the 
East. These three Acts first appear in western Church witnesses in the late 4th and 
early 3th centuries, in Philaster, Augustine, Evodius* 2 and in Innocent 1,“ while the 
Acts of Paul were already known in the West around 200, in the time of TertuIlian 
and Hippolytus,* 4 and with regard to the earliest western attestation for the Acts of 
Peter a secure verdict is scarcely to be gained.* 5 Philaster already gave an incomplete 
description of the compass of the whole collection, which however can be corrected 
from his own statements, and Augustine and Evodius spoke of it only in very general 
terms. Over and above that, it left no really clear traces in Church reports either in 
the West, where it was probably taken over by the Priscillianists also, or in the East, 
apart from the report of Photius. There are only various compilations of some of the 
five Acts, in which as a rule we find not so much evidence of direct knowledge on 
the part of the witness concerned, but rather some more or less clear information that 
has come down to him about their existence. The question moreover remains whether 
in each case it is a question of information about fragments of the old collection, or 
fragmentary information about the collection itself, or whether we have to do with 
witnesses to a tradition independent of it. 

In the Latin area. Innocent I in his letter to Ex supen us of Toulouse of 20 February 
405 reckons among the non-canonical writings to be rejected ‘those under the names 
of Peter and John, which were composed by a certain Leucius, as well as under the 
name of Andrew, which (were written) by the philosophers Xenocarides and 
Leonidas, and under the name of Thomas ' .** Tumbius of Astorga (mid-5th cent.), 
in a letter to the Spanish bishops Idacius, probably the Galician chronicler of the years 
379-479, Hydatius of Chaves and Ceponius, names among the apocrypha in his view 
composed or redacted by the Marucheans ‘ especially those Acts which are called the 
(Acts) of the holy Andrew and those which are described as such of the holy John, 
which Leucius composed in godless speech, and those which are called the (Acts) 
of the holy Thomas, and the like (writings), from which the Manicheans and 
Priscillianists, and whatever other sect is kindred to them, seek to corroborate their 
whole heresy’. 47 The so-called Passio Johannis under the name of a bishop Melito 
of Laodicea, which hardly came into being before the second half of the 5th century, 
is extant only in Latin, but probably of Greek origin.* 1 Its foreword warns ‘against 
a certain Leucius, who has written Acts of the Apostles, of John the Evangelist and 
the holy Andrew as well as the apostle Thomas',** and taxes them with teaching a 
consistent dualism such as later Photius also thought he could find in the corpus of 
‘joumeyings’ he examined. 70 Even if one certainly cannot without more ado reckon 
that behind these testimonies there actually stands a direct and independent 
knowledge of the Acts mentioned in each case, yet erne may probably see in their 
enumerations of such Acts, which at the same time name Leucius as the author for 
one or more of them, a faint echo of the Manichean corpus. It finally petered out in 



the West in the vague idea of one Leucius as an author of dangerous apocrypha 
generally. 71 

On the other hand it must remain an open question whether two lists, each of four 
of the five ancient Acts, which occur in the later Greek Church tradition should be 
claimed as faint echoes of the corpus, or rather as chance compilations. In the first 
half of the 7th century John of Thessalonica composed a homily on the Dormitio 
Mariae, a revision which seemed to him necessary because he held that this document 
itself had been corrupted by heretics. In the preface he appeals to similar works: ‘We 
have indeed established that our most recent predecessors and the holy fathers long 
before them used this procedure - the former with the so-called separate Travels of 
the holy apostles, Peter, Paul, Andrew and John, the latter with most of the writings 
about the Christ-bearing martyrs’. 77 This text at any rate does not betray any direct 
knowledge of the ancient Acts, for which the designation ‘Travels’ here occurs for 
the first time. 73 Finally the Snchometry added in one version of the Chronography 
from the middle of the 9th century placed under the name of Nicephoms of 
Constantinople (the age of the Stichometry itself cannot be determined) names under 
the New Testament apocrypha the Travels of Paul, Peter, John and Thomas. 74 

Photius found occasion in the manuscript of the Travels collection which he 
examined to consider Leucius Charinus as the author of this corpus, and for 
Augustine and Evodius already Leucius evidently ranks as the author of the 
collection treasured by the Manicheans, and not merely of individual Acts contained 
therein, as has occasionally been assumed as a result of an isolated treatment of the 
individual witnesses apart from the total complex of the source material and also 
against their actual wording. 73 The surname Charinus adduced by Photius also was 
possibly not unknown in the West, but in a tradition for which the name Leucius 
cannot have been saddled with the hypothetical authorship of questionable apocry¬ 
phal writings; for in the Latin form of the report of Christ's descent to Hell, the origin 
of which probably falls not before the middle of the 6th century, the sons of the aged 
Symeon who appear as witnesses to the Descensus (unnamed in the Greek version) 
bear the names Karin us and Leucius; 74 the question however remains open whether 
the Latin text here presents an independent addition, or preserves something more 
original over against the transmitted Greek form. When the Manichean corpus of 
apostolic Acts was placed under the name Leucius (Charinus) is obscure. However, 
the evidence of Photius at any rate justifies our starting out. despite the silence of the 
Greek tradition elsewhere, from the view that it did not first grow up in the West. 

Outside of this corpus and the tradition which can be traced back to it of a heretical 
author of apocrypha named Leucius, and in addition to the use in the Latin Descensus, 
the name also occurs in the Panarion of Epiphanius, written in 375/7, and about the 
same time in Pacian of Barcelona (d. before 392). Epiphanius writes that Cerinthus 
and other heretics of the early period had ‘often been attacked by the holy John and 
his companions, Leucius and many others’, 77 a later relic of a tradition which already 
occurs in the 2nd century in the idea that John directed his Gospel against Cerinthus. 7 * 
Pacian again speaks of Montanists ‘ who falsely claim to have drawn their inspiration 
from Leucius ’ , 74 and by this formulation at the same time contests their right to appeal 
to him as a guarantor of authenticity, a guarantor, we may assume, for the Johannine 
apostolic tradition, which Montamsm in particular claimed as its own. Pseudo- 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Melito of Sardis in the prologue to his Transit us Mariae (5th or 6th cent.) marks a 
point of intersection of the tradition about a disciple of John named Leucius, 
contained in these witnesses, and that of Leucius as the composer of apocryphal 
writings. He introduces himself there as a disciple of the apostles and especially of 
John, and at the same time speaks of Leucius, ‘who with us had beat a companion 
of the apostles', but then departed from the way of righteousness, and combines this 
statement with the idea evidently taken from the Passio Johannis , that this Leucius 
did indeed in his writings report much of the deeds of the apostles but also inserted 
into them a false doctrine.* 0 

The name of Leucius probably fell into such discredit because he was claimed 
by the Manicheans as guarantor of tradition for the collection of apocryphal Acts used 
among them and disseminated by them. It has often been conjectured that he was 
originally associated with the Acts of John and only from there passed over to the 
corpus as a whole." It fits well with such an assumption that in Innocent I and 
Turnbius of Astorga, in whose norices the information about the corpus itself has 
already become uncertain or even been lost, the name of Leucius in any case still 
attaches to the Acts of John. What above all tells in favour of his original attachment 
to these Acts is on the one hand the fact that there was a developing tradition about 
a disciple of John named Leucius, which from the context of its reflection in 
Epiphanius and Pacian points to the 2nd century and to Asia Minor, and on the other 
the fact that the Acts of John themselves from the point of view of controversial 
theology hark back precisely to the tradition which was developing in the 2nd century 
about John’s activity in Ephesus and Asia Minor.* 2 They could evidently take from 
this the name of a putative disciple of John, as they did the geographical framework 
of their narrative. He does not however appear in the only remains of this text extant 
today. They stand apart from the other ancient Acu, however. in that to a considerable 
extent they are written in the 'we' style of a fictional reporter,* 3 who moreover also 
makes use of the first person singular in one of his narratives (AJ 61). This ostensible 
reporter, presenting himself as an intimate companion of the apostle, must have been 
introduced in the lost opening section of the document, and in view of the indications 
given it is certainly no far-fetched conjecture that this was done under the name of 
the putative disciple Leucius from the John tradition of Asia Minor. 


The Manichean Collection of apocryphal Acts 

1. Photius, Bibl., cod. 114, ed. R. Henry, 11, 84-86; on this cf. Eric Junod, 'Actes 
tpocryphes et htrtsie: Le jugement de Photius’, in Francois Bovon et al.. Let Actes 
apocryphes des Apdtres (Publications de la Faculty de Thtologie de l’Universit6 de 
Genfcve 4), Geneva 1981, 11-24; Eric Junod/Jean-Daniel Kaestli, L'histoire des Actes 
apocryphes du IIP au IX‘ siicle (Cahiers de la Revue de Thlologie et de Philosophic 7), 
Geneva/Lausanne/Neuchitel 1982,134-137. 

2. This statement cannot in this form be documented from the extant remains of the Acts 
mentioned; for the first part cf. however AJ 94: (the Jews) ‘to whom their law was given 
by a lawless serpent'. 

3. Cf. AJ 98: the Cross of Light is called inter alia ‘sometimes Father, sometimes Son'; 



Also AJ 109; 112. 

4. Cf. AJ 87-93; APt (Act. Verc.) 21. 

5. Cf. AJ 97-100; APt (Act. Verc.) 37f.; speech of Andrew to the Cross in the martyrdom 
of the Acts of Andrew: Armenian tradition of the Mart. Andr., ed. K. Tserakian, Ankanon 
Girk’ arrak’ elakank’ , Venice 1904, 154-156; French trans. Louis Leloir, Merits 
apocryphes sur lei apdtres I(CChrSA 3), Tumhout 1986, 241-244. 

6. Cf. AJ 97 and 102; however here it is John who laughs at the crowd. The motif that 
Jesus laughed at his crucifiers, because they were not aware that they were actually 
nailing another man in his form to the cross, appears in the Second Logos of the Great 
Seth (NHC VII2) 55.30-56.19 and in the Nag Hammadi Apocalypse of Peter (NHC VII 
3) 81.3-22, ed. and tr. M. Krause in Altheim/Stiehl (ed.), Christentum am Roten Meer 
II. 1973, 119-121; 172-175 (Eng. trans. tn NHLE M988, 365. 377); later, in c.5 of the 
anti-Manichean Seven Chapters of the 6th cent. (ed. Marcel Richard in the Introduction 
to the edition of John of Caesarea. CChrSG 1. Tumhout 1977, XXXII1-XXXX, here 
XXXVI 132-135; cf. the great Greek abjuration formula, PG 1. col. 1464D), it is also 
ascribed to the Manicheans (cf. also Samuel N.C. Lieu. 'An Early Byzantine Formula 
for the Renunciation of Manicheism', JbAC 26, 1983, 152-218, here 208). For the 
gnostic Basilides the man crucified in Christ's place, according to Irenaeus (adv. Haer. 
124.4, ed. Adelin Rousseau/Louis Doutreleau [SC 264], Paris 1979,328), is identified 
with Simon of Cyrene. Linked with the scenery of the Acts of John, which make Christ 
appear on the Mount of Olives at the hour of the crucifixion, this idea occurs once again 
very much later in anti-heretical polemic in Nicephorus of Constantinople (806-816), 
who reproaches the iconoclasts who are demonstrably appealing to the Acts of John with 
dreaming, under the constraints of docetic heresy, ‘that the incarnation and crucifixion 
of the Lord were only in appearance; for they fancy that it was not Christ who was the 
crucified, rather he took his stand upon the mount and laughed at the Jews, whocrucified 
Simon in the delusion that it was Christ who would be crucified' ( Antithetical II 19, 
PG 100, col. 369). Perhaps we should not, with E. Junod (see above, note 1), 21f., start 
out exclusively from the assumption that Photius' report on the basis of heresiological 
tradition is here distorted, but may also reflect that the version of the corresponding 
episode from the Acts of John which has come down to us in a single MS. only was 
possibly not the only one in circulation. 

7. This judgment may for Photius have resulted from the encratite features which occur 
in the Acts mentioned; cf. e.g. AJ 113; APIThe 11; AA. frag, of Cod. Vat. gr. 808. cap. 
4-8 (cf. below, pp. 129ft); ATh 12; 55; 88; a passage from the apocryphal Epistle of 
Titus, which probably goes back to the Acts of John (see below, pp. 159f). speaks of an 
express rejection of marriage; cf. also G. Sfameni Gasparro, 'Gli Atti apocrifi degli 
Apostoli e la tradizione dell'enkrateia', Augustinianum 23. 1983. 287-307. 

8. This statement cannot be directly documented from the extant remains of the Acts 
named; cf. however the apocryphal Epistle of Titus (see below, pp. 159f.) 

9. It is difficult to find any basis in the extant remains of the Acts mentioned for this 
reproach of a consistent dualism raised by Photius. 

10. The miracle of raising the dead occurs in all apocryphal Acts; the raising of dead 
animals is on the contrary not reported in the extant Acts, if we leave aside the 
resuscitation of a dried sardine in APt (Act. Verc.) 13. In ATh 41 the raising of a dead 
ass is refused, although it is basically declared to be possible. 

11. AJ 26-29. 

12. Ed. Eric Junod/Jean-Daniel Kaestli, Acta Johannis I (CChrSA 1), Tumhout, 1983. 

13. Eusebius. HE III 1. ed. E. Schwartz I (GCS 9, 1). 188.1-12. 

14. Adolf von Hamack, Der kirchengeschichtliche Ertrag der exegetischen Schriften 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

des Origenes I (TU 42,3), 1918. 14-16; EricJunod, ‘Origtne. Eusfcbe et la tradition sur 
la repartition des champs de mission des Apdtres ’, Les Actes apocryphes (see p. 94. note 
1). 233-248. 

13. A Manichaean Psalm-Book . Pan II. ed. C.R.C. Allberry, 1938.142.17-143.14; cf. 
Peter Nagel. 'Die Psalmoi Sarakoton des manichtischen Psalmbuchs'. Oriental. 
Uteraturseitung 62. 1967, 123-130; id., 'Die apokryphen Apostelakten des 2. und 3. 
Jahrhunderts in der manichtischen Literatur’, Gnosis und Neues Testament , ed. Karl- 
Wolfgang Trftger. 1973, 149-182. The translation above follows Nagel’s version, but 
has been checked against AilberTy and the Coptic text Cf. also J.-D. Kaestli, (-'utilisation 
des Actes apocryphes des Apdtres dans le ManicMisme’, Gnosis and Gnosticism: 
Papers read at the Seventh International Conference on Patristic Studies, ed. Martin 
Krause (NHS 8). Leiden 1977.107-116; E. Junod/J.-D. Kaestli. Histoire (see p. 94. note 
1). 73-77. 

16. APt (Act Verc.) 37f. 

17. AA: Gregory of Tours, de Miraculis b. Andr. 12, ed. M. Bonnet (MG. SSrerMer. I 
2. M969), 382f.; see below, p. 120. 

18. Cf. the martyrdom of the AA (see below, pp. 135ff.); there is however no mention 
of a crucifixion of his disciples there. 

19. AJ; the narrative referred to is not extant, but can be deduced to be part of the ancient 
Acts of John; see below, p. 179. 

20. Cf. Josephus. Ant. 20.200, ed. B. Niese IV. 260.31 -261.5; Hegesippus. Hypomnem. 
V ap. Euseb. HE II 23.12-18. ed. E. Schwartz (GCS 9. I). 168.20-170.20 (see vol. I. p. 
475ff.); Second Apocalypse of James (= NHC V 4), ed. Wolf-Peter Funk. Die xweite 
Apokalypse des JakobusausNag Hammadi Codex V (TU 119). 44-47; translation in vol. 
I. p. 339. Not to be overlooked is above all the verbal contact with the note about James 
in the first of the two apostle lists in the Manic hear Psalm-book (Allbeny, 192.9). The 
two passages also correspond in that there is reference only to the stoning, and not as in 
Hegesippus and Apoc. Jas. to the casting-down from the Temple. 

21. ATh 164f. 

22. Cf. 2 Cor. 11:33; Acts 9:52; the wording is however not intelligible from these 
passages alone, but rather seems to presuppose a narrative elaborated from them. 

23. APIThe 20f. 

24. APIThe 33-35. 

25. AJ; the narrative referred to is not extant, but can be deduced to be part of the ancient 
Acts of John; see below, p. 178f. 

26. Maximilla is a prominent figure in the Acts of Andrew (see below, p. 128ff.); 
Aristobula is mentioned only in passing in AJ 59. but must have played a larger part in 
the Acts of John; cf. Nagel, 'Apostelakten' (see above, note 15), 168. 

27. P. Nagel. 'Apostelakten' (see above, note 15). 154, thinks that of the Acts of Paul 
the psalmist had only the Acts of Paul and Thecia. If however, u would seem to be the 
case because of his juxtaposition of pecudes and bestiae, the talking lion of the Acts of 
Paul (see above, p. 90) is in mind in the statements of Phi lister of Brescia about stories 
of talking animals in the Acts read by the Manicbeans, then the Acts of Paul in the 
Manic bean corpus cannot have contained only the Paul and Thecia complex. 

28. See above, note 20. and on the apostle lists further below. 

29. Allberry, 191.17-193.12. 

30. Allberry, 192.5-20. 

31. 'A merchant who finds gain is Thomas in the land of India' (Allberry. 192.15L). In 
ATh 2 Thomas is represented as a carpenter who is sold to the merchant Abban. 

32. J.-D. Kaestli (see above, note 15). 1 lOf. 

33. Allberry. 192.21-24. 



34. AlIberTy, 192.23-193.3. Translation after Nagel (p. 96. note 13). but checked against 
Allberry and the Coptic text. 

35. A summary of the portrait of Thecla in the APIThe. 

36. AA; frag, of Cod. Vat. gr. 808, c. 5-8 (see below, p. 129ff.); cf. P. Nagel. 
‘Apostelakten’ (p. 96. note 13), 136. 

37. Iphidamia is, alongside Maximilla, an important figure in the Acts of Andrew, and 
together with her continually seeks out the imprisoned apostle (AA, frag, of Cod. Vat. 
Gr. 808, c.2; 5; 14; see below, pp. 129ff.); but there is no reference to the fact that she 
too was imprisoned. 

38. See above, note 26. 

39. A woman named Eubula appears in each of APt (Act. Verc.) 17 and API, p. 2-5 of 
the Hamburg papyrus fragment. P. Nagel, ‘Apostelakten’ (p. 96. note 15), 158, has 
sought to relate the statements of the psalm to the Acu of Peter, J.-D. Kaestli (p. 96, note 
15). 111. on the other hand, following the example of C.R.C. Allberry (app. ad loc.), to 
the Acu of Paul. She does not however fit these two narratives very well, and also the 
description of Eubula as ‘noble’ (rftyevifc) is of no assistance in deciding between the 
Eubula of the Acts of Peter, ‘a woman of some distinction ( honesta) in this world’, and 
the freedwoman Eubula of the Acts of Paul, since the reference is probably to qualities 
of mind rather than to social status. 

40. See above, note 25 and for the translation E. Junod/J.-D. Kaestli, Histoire (p. 94, note 
1). 52. 

41. ATh 82-105; 119-137; 157-160; 169. 

42. J.-D. Kaestli (p. 96, note 15). Ill. 

43. APIThe 7. 

44. Augustine, c. Faust. XXX 4. ed. J. Zycha (CSEL 25). 751.8-752.5. 

45. J.-D. Kaestli (p. 96. note 15). 108-112. When in E. Junod/J.-D. Kaestli (p. 94. note 
1), 140 it is said that the five Acts did not form ‘a corpus in opposition to the canonical 
Acu*, but rather only a ‘collection’ ( recueil , collection), one has the impression that the 
contesting of the assumption of a Manichean ‘corpus of Acu* is ultimately simply a 
quarrel about words, which starts out from too narrow a definition of the term ‘corpus’. 

46. See above, pp. 90f. 

47. J.-D. Kaestli (p. 96. note 15). 108. 

48. Philaster, de Haer. 88.6, ed. F. Heylen (CChrSL 9), 255f.; on the text-critical 
problem of this passage cf. P. Nagel.‘Apostelakten’(p. 96. note 15), 159,andE. Junod/ 
J.-D. Kaestli, Histoire (p. 94. note 1), 60, on the composition see above, p. 9If. 

49. APt (Act Verc.) 9; 11 f. The Acu of Andrew according to Gregory of Tours (de Mir. 
b. Andr. 6. ed. M. Bonnet, MG.SSrerMer I 2, *1969. 380) are of no account here, since 
it is not dogs that speak but demons in the form of dogs, quite apart from the fact the 
original form of this demon-expulsion story cannot be reconstructed. Nor can the 
‘serpent* of ATh 30-33 be included among the talking animals. 

50. API, Hamburg papyrus p. 5 and Kasser’s Coptic papyrus. 

51. ATh 39f. (ass’s colt); 74; 78f. (wild asses become lame). 

52. Photius, Bibl., cod.179, ed. R. Henry II. 184-187. here 186. 

53. Seven Chapters 2. ed. M. Richard (p. 95, note 6) XXXIV 47f.; probably dependent 
on it the two abjuration formulae, the small (ed. G. Ficker, ZKG 27,1906,446-448, here 
447.7f.) and great (PG 1, col. 1468A); cf. S.N.C. Lieu (p. 95, note 6), 170f. and 198f. 

54. Peter of Sicily. Hist. Manich. 67, ed. Ch. Astruc et al. , Travaux et Mimoires 4,1970. 
3-67, here 31.28; Photius, Narr. de Manich. 50, ibid. 99-183, here 137.17; cf. the great 
Greek abjuration formula, PG 1, col. 1468B. 

55. Photius, Bibl., cod. 179, ed. R. Henry, II, 187. 

56. Cf. C. Schmidt, Die alien Petrusakten im Zusammenhang der apokryphen 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Apostelliteratur (TU 24,1), 1903. 30. note 1. On the title of Luke's Acts cf. E. 
Plumacher, TRE 3. 1978, 483; ‘Acts of all the Apostles': Muratori Canon 34f. ed. P. 
Preuschen, Analecta II. M910,29;' Acts of the Twelve Apostles': Cyril of Jerus. Catech. 
IV 36, ib. 81.7If. Cf. also Augustine, c. Felic. 11 6 (see below). 

57. Cf also Timothy the Presbyter, de Recept. Haer. (1st half 7 th cent.), who in referring 
to the writings of Mani and after the Gospels of Thomas and Philip mentions ‘the Acts 
of the Apostle Andrew' (PG 86 I, col. 21C). 

58. E. Junod/J.-D. Kaestli, Hisioire (p. 94, note 1). 30; Francois Bovon, 'Les Actes de 
Philippe', ANRW II 25.6, 1988,4431-4527 (here 4522L). The use is less clear for the 
Acts of Paul and Andrew than for the other three. 

59. Augustine, c. Felic. II 6, ed. J. Zycha (CSEL 25), 833.8-17, the words quoted from 
833.12f; Evodius, de Fide 5, ib. 952.16-20; it is not out of the question that Evodius here 
draws not directly from the source but from Augustine. On the conjecture that the text 
quoted could derive from the Acts of Andrew, see E. Junod/J.-D. Kaestli. Hisioire (p. 
94. note 1),65. 

60. Evodius, de Fide 38. ed. J. Zycha (CSEL 25) 968.24-969.6, the words quoted from 
968.24L; on the two episodes, see below, p. 109. 

61. Cf. P. Nagel. 'Apostelakten', 153; J.-D. Kaestli (p. 96, note 15), 144f. and for the 
dating of the Psalm-book alsoTorgny Save-SOderbcrgh, Studies in the Coptic Manichean 
Psalm-book, Uppsala 1949. 155f. 

62. Acts of Andrew: Philasier (see above, note 48); Evodius. de Fide 38. ed. J. Zycha 
(CSEL 25). 968.24-969.6; in the 'apocrypha' mentioned by Augustine (c. Adv. Leg. et 
Proph. I 20. PL 42. col. 626), 'which were composed under the names of the apostles 
Andrew and John’, it will also be a case of the corresponding Acts; cf. the statement in 
the introduction to the report from the Acts of Thomas ( c Faust. XXII, p. 79.): ’ . . . 
apocryphal writings .. under the names of apostles'. Acts of John: Philaster (see above, 
note 48); Augustine, in Joh tract 124.2. ed. R Willems (CChrSL 36) 681.24-34 
(reference to the death of John, AJ 106-115); Ep. 237.2 and 5f., ed. A. Goldbacher. IV 
(CSEL 57), 526.14-24 and 529.3-532.18 (quotations from the hymn in AJ 94-97, see 
below, p. 206. note 27); on c. Adv Leg. el Proph. see above under Acts of Andrew. Acts 
of Thomas: Philaster implicitly (see above, p. 90); Augustine, de Serm. dom. in monte 
I 26.65. ed. A. Muuenbecher (CChrSL 35). 75.1628-1637; c. Adim. 17. ed. J. Zycha 
(CSEL 25.1), 166.6-22; c. Faust. XXII79. ib. 618.6-26 (ATh 6 and 8). Klaus Zelzer ( Die 
alien lateinischen Thomasakten [TU 12] 1977, XXIV-XXV1) thinks it possible to date 
the ecclesiasticising Latin redaction of the Acts of Thomas which we have in the Passio 
Thomae as early as the 4th century. This however stands on a very weak footing. The 
trinitarian interpolation ( Passio Thomae 27-29, ed. K. Zelzer, ib. 20.11-22.14) is said 
to point to the time of the Arian controversy. But anti-Arian polemic still continued in 
Latin Church literature even in the 5th century; the use of a psychological trinitarian 
analogy ( Passio Thomae 28, ed. Zelzer. 21.20-22.3) probably stands under the influence 
of Augustine, and the parallels from the younger Amobtus (d. after 455) adduced by 
Zelzer (114) in an appendix point to the 5 th century. It is just as difficult to conceive that 
the fitting of the apostle's martyrdom into the frame of a conflict with the cult of Sol 
Invictus ( Passio Thomae 55-60, ed. Zelser, 37.5-40.14) demands a location in the 4th 
century; apart from the fact that here we have a variation on a hagiographic motif which 
is not at all time-conditioned, we might also mention the point that even in 451 Leo the 
Great (Tract. 27.4, ed. A. Chavassc (CChrSL 138), 135.83-90) denounces a reversion of 
Christians to sun-worship. Finally, it is cutting comers to relate Augustine's references 
to the Acts of Thomas without more ado to one of the Church revisions, be it the Passio 
or the Miracula Thomae. 

63. On Innocent I see above, p. 92. 



64. Tertullian, de Bapt. 17.5. cd. J.W.P. Borleffs (CChrSL 1). 29 If.; Hippolytu*. Comm, 
in Dan. III 29.4. ed. M. Lefevre (SC 14). 254. 

65. Commodian (Carm.apol. 626and628,ed. B. Dombart (CSEL IS), 156) refers to the 
narratives Act. Verc. 9; Ilf. and 15. Assessment of this evidence is however faced not 
only with the question of Commodian's dating, in regard to which there is much to be 
said for a location in the 3rd century (cf. Klaus Thraede, ‘Beitrlge zur Datierung 
Commodian*JbAC 2,1959.90-114), but also with that of his origin; if he derived from 
the East, then his references would not necessarily attest without qualification a western 
dissemination of the Acts of Peter. The oldest indubitable western evidence is provided 
once again by Philaster (see above, p. 97, note 48) and Augustine (c. Adim. 17, ed. J. 
Zycha (CSEL 25). 170.9-13). 

66. Innocent I, Ep. 6.7, ed. Hubert Wurm in Apollinaris 12. 1939, 77f., lines 34-37 (= 
Denzinger/Schdnmetzer 213). The passage about the Acts of Andrew (line 37) is missing 
in part of the manuscript tradition. 

67. Turribius Asturic. Ep. adldac. et Cepon. 5. PL 54, col. 694. The apocryphal Epistle 
of Titus witnesses to the dissemination in the Spanish region of the Acts of Paul and Peter 
also, which Turribius does not mention (see above, pp. 71 note 8 and 73 note 58). 

68. Melito (Mellitus, Miletus) of Laodicea, Passio Johannis, ed. Franciscus Maria 
Florentinius, Vetustius occidentalis ecclesiae Martyrologium, Lucca 1668. 130-137 
(reprinted in Johannes Albert Fabricius, Codex apocryphus Novi Tesiamenti HI, 
Hamburg 1724, *1743, cols. 604-623) and (in another text-form) Gotthold Heine, 
Bibliotheca anecdotorum I. Leipzig 1848.109-117 (reprinted inPGS.cols. 1239-1250). 
On its origin and dating cf. Knut Schiferdiek, ‘Die Passio Johannis des Melito von 
Laodikea und die Virtutes Johannis', AnalBoll 103, 1985, 367-382. 

69. Passio Johannis, prol.. Fabricius 604, cf. PG 5. col. 1239. 

70. See above, p. 87f. 

71. Ps.-Gelasius, Deer, de libris recip. V 4.4, ed. E. von Dobschiitz (TU 38,4), 52: ‘All 
the books which Leucius, the disciple of the devil, has made', where ‘disciple of the 
devil* may indicate that the Manichean literature is in mind. 

72. John of Thessalonica, Koimesis-homily, ed. M. Jugie (PO 19), 377.5-12. 

73. Cf. E. Junod/J.-D. Kaestli. Histoire (p. 94. note 1). 117-119. who also think, although 
with reservations, of Latin writings on which the judgment could rest. On the later 
apostolic Acts, see below, pp. 426ff. 

74. So-called Stichometry of Nicephorus. ed. Th. Zahn, Geschichte des nil. Kano ns II 
1. Erlangen/Leipzig 1888. 300.63-66; see vol. I, p. 42. 

75. On this cf. NTApo* II. pp. 182-186. 

76. Gospel of Nicodemus 17-27, ed. H.C. Kim, The Gospel of Nicodemus (Toronto 
Medieval Texts 2). Toronto 1973, 35-39 passim (cf. vol. I, pp. 526-530); on the dating 
cf. G.C.O'Ceallaigh, 'Dating the commentaries of Nicodemus', Harv. Theol. Review 56, 
1963,21-58. On the parcelling out of the double name to two persons, cf. Josef Kroll, 
Gott und HdUe, 1932, 86. 

77. Epiphanius, Pan. 51.6.7-9, ed. K. Holl II (GCS 31) 255.16-24, the words quoted from 

78. Irenaeus, adv. Haer. Ill 11.1,ed. A. Rousseau/L. Doutreleau (SC 211), 138f.; cf. also 
the anecdote reported ib. Ill 3.4 (SC 211,40-42), under appeal to Polycarp, about John’s 
encounter with Cerinthus in a bath-house. 

79. Pacian of Barcelona, Ep. I 2. ed. P.H. Peyrot, Zwolle 1896 * Amsterdam 1969, 4; 
PL 13. col. 1053B. 

80. Ps.-Melito, de Trans. Mariae, Prol., PG 5, cols. 1231f. 

81. Cf. Isaac de Beausobre, Histoire critique de Manichie et de Manichiisme I. 
Amsterdam 1734,348-352; Johann Karl Thilo, Colliguntur et commentariis illustrantur 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

fragmenta actuum S. loannis a Leucto Charino conscnptorum, Halle 1847, 5, note; 
Theodor Zahn. Acta Johannis. Erlangen 1880 = Hildesheim 1975. LX-LXXXI; Carl 
Schmidt, Die alien PetrusaJuen im Zusammenhang der apokryphen Apostelliteratur (TU 
24,1). Leipzig 1903,76f. On the other hand the source material offers no support for E. 
Junod’s conjecture (see p. 94, note 1, there p. 17) that the name of Leucius became 
attached to the Acts as a result of the efforts of Manichean circles to put a name to the 
author of the Acts of Andrew, who in a still unpublished epilogue speaks anonymously 
about the aim of his work. Even if Leucius is possibly named in Augustine and Evodius 
only at quotations from the Acts of Andrew (cf. above, p. 98, note 59), he is there linked 
not with these Acts but with the Manichean corpus as a whole. In view of this. Junod and 
Kaestli (Histoire [see p. 94. note 1], 137-142,esp. 140) retreat to the assumption that the 
name of Leucius was first attached to it in circles of Latin African Manicheans, and if 
Photius found occasion in his manuscript for assigning it to Leucius Charinus, that is 
possibly a reflection of western tradition (ib.. 142f.). Here the question of the Ephesian 
John legend, in which the Leucius tradition and the Acts of John have a common point 
of reference, is not taken into consideration. 

82. Cf. below, p. 164. and Knut Schiferdiek, ‘Hcrkunft und Interesse der alten 
Johannesakten’, ZNW 74, 1983, 247-267, esp. 261-263. 

83. Cf. E. Junod/J.-D. Kaestli. Acta Johannis (p. 95, note 12). 530-533. 


The Acts of Andrew 

1. The Acts of Andrew 

Jean-Marc Priewr and Wilhelm Schneemelcher 


Jean-Marc Prieur 

1. Literature: Texts: Bonnet, Aa II 1.1-64; Acta Andreae Apostoli cum Laudatione 
contexta. ed. M. Bonnet. AnalBoll 13,1894,311 -332; Martyrium Sancti Apostoli Andreae, 
ed. M. Bonnet, AnalBoll 13, 1894, 333-378; Gregory of Tours, Liber de miraculis beati 
Andreae Apostoli, ed. M. Bonnet (MGH, Script rerum Merov. I 2), 1885, 821-846; Th. 
Detorakis, *T6 <fcv6t6oxo pcqyrupto xoO ’Anoox6Xou 'Avfigia’, Acts of the Second 
International Congress of Peloponnesian Studies 1980, 1, Athens 1981/82, 323-352 
(Modem Greek In trod, with Eng. summary, edition of text); J. Bams, ‘A Coptic Apocryphal 
Fragment in the Bodleian Library’, JThS NS 11,1960,70-76; Manyre d’Andrfe (BHO 52). 
in Ecrits apocryphes sur les Apdtres. Traduction de T edition armimenne de Venise, by L. 
Leloir (CChrSA 3) 1986, 228-257; Moraldi II, 1351-1429; Erbctta II. 395-449g;. new 
edition of the complete material by J.-M. Prieur: Acta Andreae (CChrSA 5: Praefatio, 
Commentarius; 6: Textus). Tumhout 1989. 

Studies: R.A. Lipsius. Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten I, 1883, 543-622; J. 
Flamion. Les Actes d Andri el les textes apparentis (Recueil de travaux d’his tone et de 
philologie 33), Louvain 1911; E. Hennecke, *Zur christlichen Apokryphenliteratur', ZKG 
45,1926,309-315; G. Quispel, ‘An Unknown Fragment or the Acts of Andrew (Pap. Copt. 
Utrecht 1)’, VigChr 10,1956,129-148; F. Dvomik. The Idea of Apostolicity in Byzantium 
and the Legend of the Apostle Andrew (Dumbarton Oaks Studies IV), Cambridge/Mass. 
1958; P.M. Peterson, Andrew, Brother of Simon Peter. His History and His Legends (Suppl. 
to Novum Testamentum I). Leiden 1958; M. Homschuh. 'Andreasakten',NTApo > lI270-297 
(ET 390-425); E. PlUmacher, art. ‘Apostelakten'. PWRE Suppl. XV. 1978. cols. 11-70; 
Jean-Marc Prieur, ‘La figure de 1'apdtre dans les Actes d’Andrf', in F. Bovon et at., Les 
Actes apocryphes des apdtres. Christianisme et monde paien, Geneva 1981.121-139; id.. 
*D6couvertes sur les Actes d’Andrf i Patras', Acts of the Second Internal. Congress of 
Pelopon. Studies (see above), 321-324; id.. ‘Les Actes apocryphes de !’ap6tre Andrd. 
Presentation des diverse traditions apocryphes et etat de la question', ANRWII 25/6,4384- 
4414; D.R. MacDonald, 'Odysseus's Oar and Andrew's Cross: The Transformation of a 
Homeric Theme in the Acts of Andrew’ (SBL Seminar Papers 25), Atlanta 1981.309-312. 

2. Attestation: a) In the East (4th cent.). The oldest direct mention is in Eusebius 
of Caesarea ( HE III 25.6; see vol. I, p. 47), who lists the AA along with the Acts of 
John among the texts which are to be rejected as absurd and impious. 1 

The Papyrus Copt. Utrecht I, which contains a translation of a section from the 
AA. confirms that this work was known in Egypt in the 4th century (the papyrus is 
dated to this period). 2 

In his Panarion Epiphanius reports that the AA were used by the Encratites, the 
Apostoiici or Apotactites, and the Origenists. 3 

b) Among the Manicheans. The AA, like the other apocryphal Acts, were in use 
among the Manicheans (see above, pp. 87ff.), who treasured them because of their 
dualism and their encratite tendency. 

In two Manichean psalms there are clear allusions to events and personalities in 
the AA. 4 In the ‘psalm of endurance’ (p. 142) it is said: ‘Andrew the apostle - they 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

set fire to the house beneath him. He and his disciples - hail to them, they were 
crucified. ’ The AA say nothing about any crucifixion of Andrew ’ s disciples, but they 
do end with the apostle’s death by crucifixion. In addition there is in the Liber de 
miraculis of Gregory of Tours a story of the burning of a house in which Andrew was 
on the third story (c. 12. 832.41-833.2). In the same psalm (143.13-14) it is said: 
' Maximilla and Aristobula - on them was great torture inflicted. What need for them 
to suffer these things? It is purity for which they contend. ’ Maximilla appears in the 
AA. She is the wife of Aegeates, the proconsul of Patras, who applies moral torture 
to her because after her conversion she denies herself to him. 

In the psalm ’There were ten virgins’ we find the following lines (192.26-28): ’A 
shamer of the serpent is the faithful Maximilla. A recipient of good news is Iphidama 
her sister also, imprisoned in the prisons.' Here again Maximilla appears; her 
husband, whom she in fact put to shame, is called ‘serpent’ in the AA, while she 
receives the designation ’most faithful’ (juxyiordrn). Her companion is called 
’sister’ by her, and meets with Andrew in the prison. These psalms, translated from 
Greek into Coptic, probably go back to a Syriac original. The papyrus on which they 
are handed down derives from the second half of the 4th century, but the texts 
themselves go back to the end of the 3rd. Even if they do not expressly quote the AA, 
we have here the evidence for the earliest use of this apocryphon. 3 

In his Diversarum haereseon liber (about 390), Phi las ter of Brescia affirms that 
the apocrypha, corresponding to the ideas of the Manicheans, have much added or 
omitted. He expressly names the AA: ‘Apocrypha of the blessed Andrew, these are: 
Acts which he did when he came from Ponlus to Greece, and which the disciples who 
followed the apostle wrote up. ’* A twofold interest attaches to this testimony. On the 
one hand it gives us a valuable indication of the content of the AA: Andrew’s travels 
from Pontus to Greece On the other it suggests the idea that the apocryphon presented 
itself as the work of eye-witnesses. 

Augustine writes in his Contra Felicem Manichaeum (404): *In the Acts 
composed by Leucius, which he wrote as if they were Acts of the Apostles, you will 
find these statements: For indeed specious figments, a simulated brilliance and a 
laying claim through visible things do not proceed from one’s own nature, but from 
that man who through himself has become corrupted, through seduction’ . 7 Augustine 
does not say that this quotation comes from the AA and we have not been able to 
find it in any transmitted text. But its content does probably correspond to the world 
of ideas of the AA described below (see pp. 110ff.). The quotationmay then very well 
have been taken from this apocryphon, and then attests that Augustine knew the AA. 

In the 5th century Evodius of Uzala (d. 424), in his work de Fide contra 
Manichaeos, first takes up the quotation from Augustine and then adduces two 
allusions to the content of the AA which can be verified in the sources available to 
us. These are not indeed citations of passages from the AA but the precise statements 
show that Evodius had an accurate knowledge of the work. 

’In the Acts of Leucius, which he composed in the names of apostles, consider 
what kind of things you accept in regard to Maximilla the wife of Egetes: when she 
refused to pay the due proper to her husband, although the apostle said: Let the man 
give what is due to the woman, and so also the woman to the man (1 Cor. 7:3), she 
foisted on him her maid Euclia, supplying her, as is written there, with enticements 


The Acts of Andrew 

and cosmetics, and substituted her in the night for herself, so that he without knowing 
it slept with her as if she were his wife. There it is also written that when Maximilla 
and Iphidamia wait away together to hear the apostle Andrew, a handsome little boy, 
whom Leucius would have us understand either as God or at least as an angel, handed 
them over to the apostle Andrew; and he departed to the Praetorium of Egetes, went 
into the bedroom and imitated a woman’s voice, as if Maximilla were complaining 
about die suffering of the female sex and Iphidamia were answering ha. When 
Egetes heard this conversation be believed that they were within and went away.’ 1 

c) Among the Priscillianists. The AA were also used by the Priscillianists, the 
ascetic sect which developed from the preaching of Priscillian about 37S in Spain. 
In his list of the canonical books, drawn up with them in view, Pope Innocent I 
intimates that the AA belong to the writings to be condemned ami rejected. He adds 
that they were composed by the philosophers Xenocarides and Leonidas.* This report 
is without any parallel. It must however be set in association with Philaster’s 
statement about the disciples of Andrew, and perhaps - as we shall see later - gives 
a hint as to the identity of the author of the AA. 

The Epistle of Pseudo-Titus, which derives from a milieu close to Priscillianism 
(see above, pp. 53ff.), clearly alludes to an episode in the AA, and in a general way 
to its encratism: ‘When finally the apostle Andrew came to a wedding, to show the 
glory of God, he separated the spouses intended for one another, the women and the 
men, and taught them to remain holy in celibacy.' 10 

In the Dec return Gelasianum (cf. vol. I, pp. 38ff.) the AA are expressly adduced 
among the texts which, as composed and used by heretics and schismatics, are not 
approved by the catholics." 

d) Catholic redactions of the AA. Despite the papal condemnations the AA were 
widely read and used by catholics. They were however subjected to revision, to make 
them acceptable for popular piety. The Letter of the Presbyters and Deacons of 
Achaea, which came into being probably in the 6th century, is the oldest Latin 
reworking, but contains only the end of the book, i.e. the martyrdom of the apostle. 12 
The Liber de miraculis Bean Andreae Apostoli 15 was composed by Gregory of Tours 
shortly before his death (593). In the prologue Gregory explains that he has had the 
AA in his hands. He has revised them in order - as he says - to remove their prolixity 
(verbositas). Gregory is the last Latin witness for the existence of the complete AA, 
probably in the form of a Latin version. 

e) The AA in the Greek and Byzantine area. After 815a monk of Kallistralia, 
Epiphanius, wrote a life of Andrew 14 which extends from the apostle’s call, as it is 
related in the Gospel of John, to his death in Patras. This Life is evidently dependent 
on the AA, but only towards the end of the book, that is from the report about the 
arrival in Patras on. This suggests the conclusion that at this time exemplars of the 
AA were in circulation which contained no more than the concluding pan of this 
apocryphon. 15 Photius (Patriarch of Constantinople 858-867 and 877-886) is the last 
Greek witness for the existence of the AA. He says that he read them, like the APt, 
the AJ, the ATh and the API, in a book which was ascribed to Leucius (cod. 114; cf. 
above, pp. 87f.).“ It can no longer be established whether this book contained the AA 
in full or only the last pan of it. 

f) The Armenian Martyrdom. 17 This martyrdom, translated from the Greek in 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

the 6th or 7th century, is proof of the dissemination of the AA in Armenia in this 
period. But since only the text of the final chapters (the martyrdom in Patras and pvt 
of the speech preceding it) is reproduced, it is a question whether the Armenian 
translator had a complete exemplar of the AA in his hands, or only the last part of 
the work. 

g) Summary. Between the 3rd and the 9th century the AA became known and 
read everywhere, in Africa, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Armenia, Asia Minor. Greece, 
Italy, Gaul and Spain. They were particularly successful in circles of a dualistic and 
ascetic tendency, especially among the Manicheans and Priscillianists. They were 
repeatedly the subject of condemnations, but this did not result in their disappear¬ 
ance. Rather they lived on in the form of revisions and extracts, as we shall see in 
the following section. The trail vanishes in the West in the 6th century, in the East 
in the 9th. 

3. Transmission and extant remaim: The AA have not come down to us in the 
primary form of their original Greek text. For their partial reconstruction, five texts 
or groups of texts of various kinds are at our disposal. 

a. The Liber de miraculis of Gregory of Tours: This work is a source of 
inestimable value, for Gregory reports about the AA from beginning to end. and thus 
makes possible for us an insight into the total plan of the work and the general design 
of the travel narratives. They run from Pontus to Patras in Achaea, which corresponds 
with the witness of Philaster of Brescia. A comparison with the sources which have 
handed on original elements of the AA 1 * yields the following results: 

1. Gregory has throughout suppressed the speeches; 

2. he has probably often thought it necessary to change the structure of the 

3. he has bent the work to a sense acceptable for catholic thinking. 

From c. 36 on he reports very concisely about the martyrdom, referring to a Latin 
Passio which seemed to him worthy of commendation. 1 * 

b. The Coptic Papyrus Utrecht I: This papyrus contains the translation of an 
extract from the AA which corresponds to c. 18 of the Liber de nuracuhs. It did not 
contain the whole book, as is evident from the fact that it ends with the title ‘the Act 
of Andrew’. The extract extends over pages 1 -15 of the manuscript. The First eight 
pages are however lost, and in addition pages 11 and 12 are also missing. The version 
is in the Sahidic dialect. 

c. The Armenian Martyrdom : This is a complete translation of the final part of 
the AA, which contains Andrew's martyrdom in Patras together with the immedi¬ 
ately preceding speech of the apostle in the prison. This Armenian version contains 
passages which are omitted in all the Greek witnesses mentioned further below. The 
translator has however remoulded the text in the sense of a more strongly ‘orthodox* 
and biblically oriented theology. It is moreover possible that he has added the eagle 
allegory in c. 12-15.® 

d. Five Greek recensions of the final part of the AA: The concluding part of the 
AA is extant in Greek in five recensions. These are witnesses which reproduce the 
original text of the AA, but which do not all transmit the same extent of text and also 
have not preserved the same elements throughout. 


The Acts of Andrew 

The Passio Andreae in Cod. Sinail. gr. S26 (fols. 121v-132v) and Cod. Jerusal. 
S. Sabas 103 (fols. 155-168v). This text is here designated as JS. 11 It is the most 
extensive witness to the martyrdom. It begins before the Armenian version, i.e. it 
reports what Andrew did and said in Patras before the martyrdom, and extends to the 
end of the AA. Comparison with the Armenian martyrdom and the other Greek 
witnesses makes it dear that JS has not preserved all the elements of the report. The 
scribe to whom this recension goes back has made excisions above all in the speeches. 

Extract from the AA in Cod. Vatic, gr. 808 (fols. 507-512) 22 . This fragment of 
the AA is mutilated at the beginning and the end. It belongs within the course of the 
narrative of JS. The text ends shortly before the beginning of the martyrdom. It 
reproduces in full the part of the AA which it contains. 

The Passio Andreae in Cod. Ann Arbor 36 (fols. 60v-66v). This text, as yet 
unpublished, has for its content the report of the martyrdom of Andrew. It begins 
immediately after the mutilated end of Vat. gr. 808. Like JS, this witness too has not 
preserved all the elements of the original text. Thus the speeches have been 
eliminated. The lacunae are not however the same as in JS. This shows that Ann Arbor 
36 is not dependent on JS. Rather the two forms oftextgobacktoa common Vorlage: 
the AA. 

The Passio Andreae in Cod. Paris. B J*4. gr. 770 (fols. 43v-46) and Cod. Jerus. 
S.Sabas 30 (fols. 154v-156v), known under the title Martyrium alterum A. 23 As in 
Ann Arbor 36, the whole martyrdom is extant in this version, but with numerous 
important excisions. 

The Passio Andreae in Cod. Paris. B.N. gr. 1539 (fols. 304-305v), known as 
Martyrium alterum B. 1 * As in the two Passions mentioned above, the whole 
martyrdom is contained in this manuscript, but with even more numerous abbrevia¬ 

e- Extracts from the AA handed down in Greek revisions : Three descriptions of 
the Life or Passion of Andrew which are dependent on the AA have preserved Greek 
extracts from this apocryphon: 

One of the Greek versions of the Letter of the Presbyters and Deacons ofAchaea. 
This letter was composed in Latin, and has undergone two Greek translations in 
particular. One of them, which begins with the words “Ajieq tots (b^aXpou; t|purv, 
has taken over important passages from the original AA in chapters 10-15. These 
extracts, which occur towards the end of the martyrdom, can be clearly recognised 
in the other Greek witnesses. 

Two reports which are dependent on one and the same revision of the AA: the 
Martyrium prius (8th cent) 23 and the Laudatio of Nicetas of Paphlagonia (9th- 10th 
cent.). 1 * The Laudatio is a reworking of the Vita Andreae of Epiphanius of Kallistratia 
(see above, p. 103). It gives its narrative outline as a whole, and has many sections 
in common with it. But from Andrew’s arrival in Patras on (c. 33) the Laudatio inserts 
additional pieces, several of which also appear in the Martyrium prius, which also 
begins with the arrival in Patras: the conversion of the town of Patras and of the pro- 
consul Lesbius (Martyrium prius c. 3-8; Laudatio c. 34-37); speech to the cross 
(Martyrium prius c. 14; Laudatio c. 46). The Laudatio further contains the story of 
the healing of the servant of the brother of Aegeates, Lesbius ’ successor (c. 43), which 
appears in the same wording at the beginning of JS, and also a few lines (c. 48, 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

p. 348.8-22) which can be found in the Greek witnesses to the martyrdom. Finally 
there is the story of a healing in Patras (c. 41), which corresponds to c. 33 in Gregory 
of Tours. 

If we compare the corresponding sections of the Martyrium prius and the 
Laudatio with one another and with the other Greek witnesses of the AA (Greek text 
and Armenian martyrdom), the result is: 

1. The Martyrium prius and Laudatio are not dependent on one another, but rather 
point back to a common Vorlage. 

2. This Vorlage did not exactly correspond to the original AA. 

The Martyrium prius and the Laudatio are thus dependent on a version of the AA 
which reports only the events in Patras and shows differences as compared with the 
original version. Despite this the pieces preserved by the two texts are of value for 
the reconstruction of the AA. 21 

In addition to these five groups of witnesses mention must be made of a further 
fragment in Coptic (Sahidic), which consists of two poorly preserved leaves (4th 
cent.). 2 * It contains a conversation between Jesus and Andrew in which the latter 
briefly strikes the balance of his apostolic activity. The editor of the fragment, J. 
Bams, wanted to assign it to an apocryphal gospel or - better still - to the AA. The 
assumption that the text belongs to the AA appears to us very probable, even if a firm 
proof cannot be produced. The forsaking of wife and children, to which there is 
reference in the text, corresponds well with the thought of the AA. Further, the words 
'I came out of the house of my father . . . and I did not lay it down’ recall the 
retrospective prayers in two texts which are close to the AA: AJ c. 113 and ATh c. 
144-148. Bams would assign the text to the beginning of the AA. If this were correct, 
it would mean that the AA, like the ATh (c. 1-3), began with an appearance of Jesus 
to the apostle. 2 * But such an episode may also have been related at other points in the 
AA, for this apocryphon must often have reported on appearances of Christ. We find 
a trace of this in Gregory (c. 22), who may moreover have suppressed other reports 
of the kind. The conversation in the Coptic fragment would fit particularly well in 
a vision, of which the Martyrium prius (c. 8) and the Laudatio (c. 37) have preserved 
a trace. This vision notifies Andrew of his imminent death. One could well 
understand that Andrew should at this point strike a balance of his life, as the apostles 
do in AJ and ATh. Apart from that, the Coptic fragment and the two Greek revisions 
contain the theme of cross-bearing and of the imitation of Christ. 

4. The possibility of reconstructing the structure and content: If we follow 
Gregory’s reworking of the AA, it consisted of two main parts: 1. a report of the 
travels which brought Andrew from Pontus by way of Amasia, Sinope, Nicaea, 
Nicomedia, Byzantium, Thrace, Perinthus, Philippi and Thessalonica to Patras 
(c. 2-21); 2. the acts of Andrew in Patras and Achaea (c. 22-33). This second part 
begins with his activity in Patras (c. 22-24). Thereafter Andrew visits several towns 
in Achaea: Corinth, Megara and perhaps Sparta (cf. the allusion in Gregory c. 29. 
p. 843.29). Then he returns to Patras, where he resumes his activity (c. 30-35). Finally 
comes the report about the martyrdom (c. 36). 

Gregory’s work begins with the episode of the deliverance of Matthias from 
imprisonment among the cannibals (c. 1). This story has also been handed down in 


The Acts of Andrew 

a separate and much more detailed work under the title ‘The Acts of Andrew and 
Matthias. ’ 30 Several scholars believe that this episode originally belonged to the AA, 
and was later expanded and made into an independent work. We think on the other 
hand that the story was not a part of the AA. but has been inserted at the beginning 
of the Latin version which Gregory had to hand. 11 

Down to Andrew’s arrival in Patras. Gregory’s Liber de miraculis is in fact our 
only witness for the AA. and despite the modifications introduced by Gregory our 
best source of knowledge. It does not allow us to reconstruct the text of the AA, but 
it does convey a very precise idea of the course of the narrative. Some external clues 
however allow us to restore the original sense of some sections altered by Gregory. 

The Acts of John of Pseudo-Prochorus (cf. below, pp. 429ff.), the author of which 
knew the AA, may clarify some obscurities in c. 4 of Gregory’s account, since they 
report a comparable story. In Gregory there is reference to a mother who betakes 
herself to the proconsul of the town of Amasia, to lay charges against her son: he has 
nursed incestuous designs against her, and has then attached himself to Andrew. This 
arouses the wrath of the proconsul against the apostle. This reaction is surprising, but 
can easily be explained if - as in the report of ps -Prochorus - the mother accuses the 
apostle himself of having put the incestuous attack into her son’s mind.” 

We may further recall that the Letter of Pseudo-Titus, following the AA, reports 
how Andrew intervenes to prevent the consummation of a marriage. This notice must 
probably be seen in some connection with Gregory’s report (c. 11) about the 
prevention of an incestuous union between two brothers and their kinswomen. 
Gregory considers it necessary to make Andrew express himself clearly: ‘We do not 
abhor marriage, nor avoid it, for God has ordained from the beginning that man and 
wife should unite together. But we reject incest.'” Actually the AA must have 
reported how Andrew stepped in to prevent a perfectly normal marriage, i.e. to preach 
encratism. Gregory evidently took offence at this episode, and reworked it. The 
forced explanation which he puts into Andrew’s mouth makes it expressly clear that 
the latter would not wish to expose himself to the reproach of rejecting marriage. 

Gregory’s report in c. 18 presents some deviations as compared with the text of 
Pap. Utrecht 1, which belongs at this point. The two reports agree in that a soldier 
who has been deputed to arrest Andrew falls to the ground, but then is finally healed. 
Between these two events however the Pap. Utrecht 1 presents a dialogue between 
Andrew and the demon who has taken possession of the soldier, whereas Gregory 
tells of a meeting with the proconsul. Now the lost pages of Pap. Utrecht 1 leave no 
room for the insertion of this official. This will rather have taken place after the 
healing of the soldier and not before. Gregory has possibly altered this episode 
because it developed ideas hostile to marriage, or perhaps also because of the 
example of military disobedience given in it. 

The report about Andrew’s arrival in Patras in c. 22 of Gregory’s account can be 
clarified through a section transmitted in the monk Epiphanius (PG 120, col. 244) 
and in the Laudatio (c. 33, p. 335.13-20). The two texts make the precise statement 
that Andrew on his arrival in Patras lodged with a certain Sozius, whom he had 
healed. Gregory on the other hand says only that Andrew was received by a man to 
whose house the proconsul Lesbius sent in search of him, but lets out nothing more 
precise as to who he was and how it came about. Epiphanius and the Laudatio give 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

this man’s name and explain why Andrew went to stay with him. 

The beginning of Andrew’s activity in Patras is reported by the Marty num prius 
(c. 3-7) and the Laudatio (c. 34-36) in two almost identical versions, which go back 
to a common source. In both texts Andrew performs numerous miracles, so that his 
fame spreads through the town and the proconsul Lesbius grows suspicious. An angel 
appears to the proconsul, and informs him that he will remain speechless until he has 
learned the truth from Andrew. Lesbius has Andrew summoned, and he heals and 
converts him. The whole town is then also converted and to the proconsul's 
satisfaction destroys the pagan idols. Shortly thereafter he is released from his 

In Gregory (c. 22) Lesbius is directly instructed in a dream to have Andrew 
brought. When Andrew comes to him, he finds him wellnigh dead. He brings him 
back to health, and Lesbius reports that he had had the intention to exterminate him, 
but that two Ethiopians appeared to him who smote him with scourges, which 
explains his present condition. 

Gregory need not have invented the intervention of the Ethiopians. That would 
not be in keeping with the sobriety he shows elsewhere. On the other hand the 
Martyrium prius and the Laudatio probably adhere exactly to the AA when they 
report the intervention of an angel. This need not however have come to a conclusion 
with Lesbius* dumbness, a motif determined by Luke 1:11 -20. The suffering from 
which Andrew heals the proconsul must in fact derive from the scourging by the 
Ethiopians. For the rest, this course of events will certainly have been reported in the 
narrative itself, and not by Lesbius. It would be entirely conceivable that it had its 
place before the appearance of the angel. In that case it would have been made known 
to Lesbius, after he had already been stricken, that the man who was to heal him was 
at hand in Patras. 

Gregory says nothing about the destruction of the idols by the inhabitants of the 
town. He contents himself with referring to their conversion. This episode, reported 
in the Martyrium prius (c. 6) and in the Laudatio (c. 33), was however probably in 
the AA. Despite Gregory's silence, we may also retain the deposition of Lesbius by 
the emperor (Martyrium prius c. 7 and Laudatio c. 36) as part of the AA, for it explains 
why this proconsul was replaced by Aegeates, who brought Andrew to his death. 

Gregory’s reports about Andrew’s activity in Patras (c. 23 and 24) and his 
journeying through various towns in Achaea (c. 23 to 29) belong at this point. There 
is no report of these in the Martyrium prius or the Laudatio, but the Laudatio still has 
a brief allusion (c. 36, p. 337.31-32). The Martyrium prius (c. 8) and the Laudatio 
(c. 37) then report an appearance of Christ in which Andrew is informed of his 
impending death and (Laudatio c. 37) receives the charge to return to Patras. This 
vision, of which Gregory says not a word, must none the less have belonged to the 
original text of the AA. 

For the beginning of the acts of Andrew after his return to Patras we have only 
the evidence of Gregory at our disposal (c. 30-32). For the healing narrative in c. 33, 
mi the other hand, the much more broadly developed text in the Laudatio (c. 41) is 
probably to be preferred. Its description of the event does not diverge in any essential 
features, but probably reproduces the original Greek text. 

The text attested by JS begins immediately after this healing narrative (Gregory 


The Acts of Andrew 

c. 34). This is the narrative of the healing of the servant of Aegeates’ brother, which 
is also in c. 43 of the Laudatio. 

The two episodes to which Evodius refers can be dearly recognised in the course 
of the narrative of JS. In the first it is reported that Maximilla, the wife of Aegeates, 
is no longer willing to have sexual relations with her husband, and has her servant 
take her place in his bed. This is fully narrated in JS. 

In the second episode it is a question of Maximilla and her companion Iphidama 
having gone to Andrew, to hear him. A handsome little boy hands them over to the 
apostle and then goes off to the praetorium of Aegeates. There he goes into the 
women's room and imitates Maximilla's voice, lamenting ‘the sufferings of the 
female sex', to give the impression that the women are there. This story is not in JS, 
but we can discern there its place in the original text of the AA; for JS relates that 
at the moment when Maximilla and Iphidama go to Andrew’s prison, a handsome 
little boy receives them and leads them to Andrew. We may assume with good reason 
that the story reproduced by Evodius had its place at this point. The copyist of JS has 
then omitted it. This report stood directly before the speech which is transmitted at 
the beginning of Vat. gr. 808. 

Vat. gr. 808 is the most complete Greek witness for the part of the AA contained 
in this manuscript, more complete than the corresponding section in JS. From the 
martyrdom on, JS, Ann Arbor 36, Martyriurn aiterum A and B and also the original 
elements which are contained in one of the Greek versions of the Letter of the 
Deacons of Achaea allow us to form a very accurate idea of how the Greek text of 
the AA looked at this point. It is even possible to reconstruct it almost completely. 34 
Comparison of these witnesses with the Armenian Passio, which has translated the 
whole of the text in question, shows however that some sections have been 
unanimously omitted by all the Greek witnesses. 

The address to the cross, which Andrew delivers immediately before his 
crucifixion, is the most famous passage in the AA. It was long thought that it is best 
transmitted in the Martyrium prius (c. 16) and the Laudatio (c. 46). Comparison of 
these two forms of the text with the Armenian Passio (c. 16-19) shows however that 
the common source of the Martyrium prius and the Laudatio has not reproduced the 
speech exactly in its original form, but sometimes abbreviated and sometimes altered 
it The Armenian Passio is thus the better witness for this speech. It has preserved it 
in its full extent, and made only incidental changes. The other Greek witnesses (JS, 
Ann Arbor 36, Martyrium aiterum A and B, Epistula) have preserved only the 
beginning of the address, and at various points abbreviated it The Armenian Passio 
does not contain the speculations about the vertical and horizontal extension of the 
cross, which are characteristic for the Martyrium prius and the Laudatio. On the other 
hand its argument rests principally on the fact that the cross is of the same nature as 
Andrew, who is on the point of uniting with it, and also on the point that it reveals 
only in part the mystery of which it is the bearer. These ideas agree perfectly with 
the thought of the rest of the AA. 

In JS and Ann Arbor 36 the AA end with a very interesting remark in the first 
person singular. This is not a colophon; rather the author is here giving a concluding 
summary. In the form preserved in Ann Arbor 36, which is without doubt very close 
to the original, the text runs: ‘Here I end my salutary report of the deeds and the 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

mysteries, to tell out which is difficult, not to say impossible. May the conclusion end 
(the work). And I pray first for myself: may I have heard what was said as it was said, 
and indeed what (was said) openly, as also further that which is not manifest to the 
understanding; further I pray for all who have been equipped through what has been 
said: may they all hold fellowship together, while God opens the ears of the hearers, 
so that all his gifts will be received in Christ Jesus our Lord ... '. u 

This final note throws light on the intentions of the author he wishes to impart 
to all the knowledge of the mysteries about which he has reported. Here it is clear 
that he distinguishes two levels of revelation and of knowledge, one which can be 
expressed and is directly accessi ble, and another which is not manifest to the intellect. 

Furthermore, this final note is in the first person singular. That must be taken 
together with the fact that in some manuscripts (JS, Martyrium alterum B) it is said 
in the description of Andrew’s death: ‘ ... while we wept and were all distressed at 
this separation’. These two pieces of evidence provide occasion for the assumption 
that the AA purported to be the work of eye-witnesses.** The author would then have 
written in their name. Possibly he introduced himself at the beginning of the work, 
in order to announce his undertaking. That would fit with the notice of Philaster of 
Brescia, according to which the AA were written by disciples who followed Andrew. 
It is perfectly possible that Philaster, who was well informed about the essential 
content of the work, read at its beginning these references to its ostensible author. 

It is not out of the question that, as Innocent I allows us to conjecture, two of these 
disciples of Andrew were the philosophers Xenocarides and Leonidas. The 
philosophical slant of the AA shows that this apocryphon must in fact have been 
edited by a philosopher. He might have had the idea of ascribing the work to 
philosophers among Andrew’s disciples. But there is no reliable basis for the 
conclusion that the ostensible authors’ names were actually those mentioned by 

What has been said thus far indicates that the AA were a very detailed report about 
the apostle’s joumeyings. He travels from town to town, performs a miracle in each 
of them, and converts a considerable number of their inhabitants. Two towns in 
particular adhered to him: Philippi (Gregory c. 11-18, with an excursion to 
Thessalonica in the middle of the narrative) and Patras. Both places were the scene 
for comparable actions and entanglements. The speeches occupied a large place, and 
were artistically and pleasingly arranged. Towards the end of Andrew’s life in Patras 
above all they were numerous and detailed. They contained the essential features of 
the author’s world of ideas. 

It appears that the AA were an original and uniform work, i.e. they were written 
at one stretch by one and the same author, who evidently did not, as was the case for 
example with the Acts of Thomas or those of Paul, take up literary units already 
available to him and compile them into a whole. 

5. Theological tendency: a. Outline of the theology of the AA. In the speeches 
which are handed down in the Greek witnesses a clear and self-coherent theological 
view is developed. It describes essentially a process of salvation, which can be 
summed up under several heads. 

The situation of mankind before revelation. Human existence is determined 

The Acts of Andrew 

through the fall of an element related to God into the body. This element is variously 
called ‘soul’ Ojruxn). ‘spirit’ (nveOya), ‘understanding’ (vaO^)or‘man’ (fiv0po»ios). 
It is as it were a captive, subjected to negative entities, to ‘time’ (xpovo^), 
‘movement’ (xivr|oi£), ‘multiplicity’ (ta noXXa), ‘becoming’ (yeveotg). Man is not 
aware of this situation. This ignorance is the work of demonic powers, who wish to 
dominate and possess him by deceiving him and pretending that they are his friends. 

The revelation. Man cannot escape from this situation except through revelation. 
It reveals to him both the divine origin of his own true being and also his captivity 
and the dominance which the demonic powers exercise over him. He is called upon 
to set an actual spiritual birth in operation, in which knowledge or perception of 
consciousness (yvu><&( 0 ) play a fundamental role. 

This revelation is brought about through the miracles and the speeches of the 
apostle. The miracles effect a salutary convulsion in the one who participates in them. 
The speeches are ‘of like nature’ (ovt/yevt^) with mankind, and act like a mirror in 
which he recognises his true nature. 

The revelation here in question is not reserved to a special class of men, rather 
it is intended for all who are ready to hear and accept this proclamation. 

The revealer. v The revealer of this salvation is the apostle Andrew. It is he who 
does the miracles and delivers the speeches which lead to knowledge of oneself. He 
accomplishes a work of salvation in the initiate. Through his activity as a ‘midwife’ 
(ovrx eipi dpvqxog pcuevxixr^ &XX’ ou6e povnxf^g) he causes him to gain self- 
knowledge. Then he fortifies him (on]Qti;oj) until he attains spiritual maturity and 
is capable of handing on the message in his tum. During this process Andrew is in 
a genuine fellowship of destiny with his pupils. His own salvation depends upon 
them; for so long as they have not attained to spiritual maturity he cannot leave this 
earthly life behind him and experience the final deliverance. In the moment of his 
death he opens the way to rest for those who later strike out along the same path. 

The apostle’s activity as miracle-worker, revealer and spiritual leader endows 
him with the features of a redeemed redeemer, a divine man and a new Socrates. He 
is a redeemed redeemer because at the same time he delivers himself from his 
existence and his own salvation is bound up with that of other men. 1 * He proves 
himself a divine man through the veneration that surrounds him, through the extra¬ 
ordinary and voluntary character of his death, through his ascetic life, his miracles, 
his power of discernment and his supernatural knowledge, through the special 
revelations imparted to him, by the fact that he introduces a new religion, converts 
the masses and forms a circle of disciples around himself.” 

One may finally call him a new Socrates - even though the AA do not so describe 
him - on the basis of some comparable features in the life and work of the Greek 
philosopher. Andrew acts like a master of ‘midwifery’. In addition the narrative of 
his death shows a clear proximity to the account of the death of Socrates in Plato’s 
Phaedo (58d-66a and 116a-118a): the bystanders lament; one of them attempts to 
prevent the death, and thereby shows his lack of understanding of what is happening; 
on the other hand the man who goes to meet his death rejoices over his end, because 
it makes possible the separation of soul from body; he remains to the last master of 
himself, admonishes the others, and speaks with them about fundamental questions; 
he goes to meet his death calmly and of his own free will. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Man after receiving the revelation. Throe who have accepted the revelation 
imparted by Andrew must earn a spiritual maturity. Fro this they draw upon sources 
in themselves, and need not wait to be instructed by others. Their life is determined 
by an ethic which includes the renunciation of all that belongs to the fleshly body and 
to the world. Since man has discovered his true being, which is spiritual and of divine 
origin, he can now only live in a way determined by this being, rejecting all that does 
not belong to it. Andrew’s disciples drive out from themselves all that is ‘outside’ 
(£xto£). In matters of food they aim at the utmost simplicity. They renounce 
sexuality and practise encratism. In consequence they also avoid procreation. They 
give up material riches and all that is worldly, including public office and positions 
of honour . 40 Finally they prepare themselves, like their master, to suffer martyrdom. 

In expectation of the final deliverance these men ami women live together in the 
same simplicity, abandoning all social distinctions and united by the discovery of 
their common nature (ouYyrvtia). This common nature distinguishes and separates 
them from everyone who is opposed and hostile to them (dXXdrptog, bxftQOf;, 
tvavu 05 ) and is governed by devilish powers. 

Their group does not describe itself as a church. Among themselves they call 
themselves ‘brothers’ (ddeXtJxx). These brethren create no institutions for them¬ 
selves: at no point do the AA allude to any regulation of offices, or even to the 
celebration of the eucharist . 41 The brethren receive from Andrew a ‘seal’ (cxpQayi^), 
the actual form of which is difficult to discern, but which is a protective amulet for 
their ascent after death, to enable them to escape the devilish powers who wish to hold 
them back. After the apostle's death they continue his work of revelation. 

The hope of the faithful. The way of salvation is already opened up here on earth 
with the acceptance of the saving knowledge and deliverance from earthly contin¬ 
gencies through asceticism. But it finds fulfilment only after death, when the soul, 
released at last, returns to its origin. Then it comes to know ‘rest’ (dvcutavotg) and 
sees God. 

This salvation is a matter of a purely individual process: in his own death man 
experiences deliverance and returns to God. In the AA there is no kind of reference 
to any global eschatology. 

God. God in the AA is a God who is near to the faithful and full of solicitude fro 
them. He intervenes to heal them, to protect them from danger, to notify them of 
coming events and to lead them. He appears in visions, either in the form of a young 
boy or in that of the apostle . 42 He is the God of Andrew, the unknown God but now 
revealed by him. 

God is the origin of the knowledge revealed by the apostle. Moreover he allows 
the hearers to receive this knowledge. Finally he takes the faithful to himself, as soon 
as after death they return to their origin and there find rest. 

Here the saving function of God comes to an end. The AA do not develop any 
reflection about salvation in Christ. This follows from their understanding of 
salvation as a perception of his true origin on the part of man, and his return to it. God 
has nothing more to do than to bring about this perception by commissioning a 
revealer, and to receive those who have achieved this perception. Consequently there 
is also no allusion to the earthly life of Jesus. It is indeed without significance for 
salvation. Jesus, his life, his death, his resurrection (there are no allusions to these 


The Acts of Andrew 

events) and his preaching are therefore no part of the apostolic proclamation. Further 
we find no kind of reference to the creative activity of God. It lies outside the text’s 
area of interest Everything is focussed upon salvation and the way to attain and to 
preserve it 

Further, it is not possible to distinguish between the divine persons. The functions 
linked with different predicates of God are interchangeable. Everything proceeds as 
if it were the same deity who alternatively receives the predicates ‘Lead’ (xv^ux;), 
‘God’ (Oedq), ’Jesus’, ’Master’ (fieandrns), ‘unbegoaen’ (frj^vTjTOq), ’light’ (<tx&s), 
’life’ fcurj), ’Father’ (jiottiq), ’brother’ (dfieXxjxiq), ’majesty’ (pcyEBos), ‘above the 
heavens’ (fateQOVQdvto£)> ‘merciful’ (tXeurv), ’compassionate' (gAci^uov), ’deliv¬ 
erer’ (ou&ov), ‘the better* (xQetrctov), ‘the beautiful’ (xoX 6 £), ‘righteous’ ( 61 x 0105 ), 
‘the One’ (els). It must in addition be emphasised that the AA never bring two divine 
persons into relationship with one another God and Jesus. The expression 'Son of 
God’ is completely lacking. This lack of distinction between the divine persons is 
also connected with the soteriology of the text. If on the one side no attention is given 
to creation, but only to salvation, and if on the other this salvation does not include 
the incarnation of a divine redeemer, then it is not necessary to make any distinction 
between the functions and consequently between the persons who fulfil them. 

This conception of the deity and of salvation explains the significance which 
attaches to the apostle. Andrew as the revealer fills a part of the place which is not 
occupied by Christ. 

b. Assessment of the Theology of the AA. The purpose of the AA. The AA are 
a propaganda document. They were written by an educated author, who very 
probably had himself been won over to Christianity and found in it what one might 
call the true philosophy. It is this philosophy which he wishes to convey to his readers. 

The AA have an apologetic character. They attack pagan philosophy, yet their 
author largely uses the linguistic and conceptual methods with which his education 
provided him. Moreover the religious attitude which he delineates is to a consider¬ 
able extent determined by the contemporary philosophy. 

The author has chosen the literary Gattung of a biographical narrative. Yet even 
if the biographical interest is not entirely lacking, it is by no means pre-eminent. The 
pre-eminence is rather given to the divine dispensation in favour of mankind. The 
author has chosen the literary form of a Vita of Andrew, in our opinion, for three 

1. On paedagogical grounds: it is a question of presenting a work that is equally 
instructive and entertaining. In addition a Vita, through the persons active in it, 
conveys practical spiritual experiences. 

2. The report of the deeds and the speeches of a divine man was a common 
contemporary way of imparting a religious message. 

3. To lend weight to the teachings reported, they are placed under the authority 
of an apostle. 

The gnostic character of the AA . The AA show a clear proximity to Gnosticism . 45 This 
(dates above all to the dualism. The presence of a spiritual element in the fleshly body 
is contrary to nature: what is fleshly stands in opposition to what is of divine origin. 

This closeness to Gnosticism appears also in regard to the question of salvation, 
which is grounded in the revelation and in becoming aware of the divine element in 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

man himself. Death means deliverance. At this point the soul completes an ascent, 
which the hostile powers seek to prevent. This process of salvation is a destiny for 
the individual. All these are gnostic ideas. 

The dualism however does not determine human existence in a natural manner. 
Confronted by the message of salvation, man has the choice of setting himself on the 
side of the Light or of the Darkness. Over and above that, the AA offer no explanation 
for the fall of the soul. They do not hark back to the idea of a Plerotna or of aeons, 
and they offer no gnostic cosmogony. There is nothing in them which could be co¬ 
ordinated with any known gnostic system. The AA are therefore not to be described 
as a gnostic text in the proper sense. They belong rather to a gnosticising way of 
thinking, such as was widespread in their time. 44 

The Platonism and Neo-Pythagoreanism of the AA. Many features draw the AA 
into proximity to Platonism: the discovery of the inner man, represented as a spiritual 
birth; Andrew asamaster of‘midwifery’.whose death is like that of Socrates; the spiritual 
minor-image; the deliverance and ascent of the soul; God as beautiful and good. 

We can also demonstrate elements in common with Neo-Pythagoreanism, a 
philosophical stream in the contemporary environment which stands very close to 
Platonism: a striving after personal unity with God and a desire for deification; 
rejection of what has part in plurality and in matter, the soul akin to God, imprisoned 
in the body; the necessity of living a pure and holy life in order to come again to God; 
the immortality of the soul which after the dissolution of the body frees itself from 
its fetters and rises up, to return again to its origin. 43 

The Stoicism of the AA. The AA finally also show Stoic features. They determine 
the ethic of the apocryphon. Andrew admonishes his hearers not to let themselves 
be carried away by their emotions, to bring their behaviour and their inward 
disposition into a unity. He himself before his death is untouched by suffering, not 
because he could not feel any pain but in the power of his spiritual exaltation. Even 
if the term tbidOeuxdoes not appear in the AA, it is still actually this Stoic ideal which 
Andrew has attained and to which he would lead his hearers. This does not mean that 
the author of the AA was an adherent of the Stoic philosophy. Rather he is indebted 
in his basic ethical standpoint to specific general tendencies in the philosophical and 
religious environment of his time. 

The AA as a reflection of the spiritual attitude of their time. It does not seem 
possible to assign the AA to any precisely defined philosophical or religious milieu. 
Various movements of thought have been passed under review, and we can see the 
AA as in proximity to them, without being able to assign them in a strict sense to any 
one of them. This makes it necessary to see the AA rather as a witness to a whole 
period. It is a kind of religious and philosophical climate that makes itself prevalent 
here, marked by a need to break free from the body and the world and take flight, 
through striving after union with the deity; in the practical conduct of life it is 
accompanied by sexual asceticism, a negative attitude towards procreation, a simple 
mode of diet and the longing for a plain way of life that is not dominated by the 
passions. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries this spiritual climate, moulded by Platonism 
and Neo-Pythagoreanism, had reached its hill development. 44 

6. Place and date of composition: The Manichean Psalm-book, which contains 


The Acts of Andrew 

allusions to the content of the AA, shows that the 3rd century is the terminus ad quern 
for the composition of this apocrypbon. But the AA must have been composed 
earlier, between 150 and 200, probably about 1 50 rather than about 200. The peculiar 
Christology of the text, the absence of reference to the historical and biblical Jesus, 
the remoteness from any kind of institution and church ritual - all this speaks for an 
early dating. In the same way the quiet and quite unpolemical fashion in which the 
AA develop heterodox ideas, especially in the area of Christology, shows that we are 
in a period in which the Christology of the Great Church had not yet taken on any 
firm outlines. 47 So far as the place of origin is concerned, there is nothing to compel 
us to decide for one particular region rather than another. The text may have been 
composed just as well in Greece as in Asia Minor, Syria or Egypt Alexandria 
especially could have afforded the spiritual and intellectual surroundings in which 
a text like the AA could have come into being. 41 



1. In addition to this attestation reference should be made to the indirect evidence of the Acts 
of Paul and of Thomas. It is very probable that the AA have influenced these two apocrypha. 

2. Cf. G. Quispel (VrgCAr 10.1956,129-148), who prepared the first English translation and 
the first study of this text. 

3. Pan. haer. 47.1.5 (GCS 31. Holl, 216); 61.1.5 (Holl, 381); 63.2.1 (Holl, 399). 

4. See C.R.C. Allbcrry, A Manichaean Psalmbook (Manichaean Manuscripts in the Chester 
Beany Collection 2). 1938. 

5. Homschuh (ET 391. note 9) thinks it not certain that the Manichean Psalm-book knew the 
AA in their original form, for the allusions contained in it diverge from the statements of the 
apocryphon. But in my opinion the authors of these psalms need not without qualification 
have possessed a direct knowledge of the apocryphal Acts; they could have taken up and 
remoulded the tradition which had its origin in the Acts. It thus appears to be a case of indirect 
dependence, which would also explain the divergences. 

6. CChrSL 9,255f. 

7. C. Fel. II 6 (CSEL 25.833). 

8. De Fide contra M 38 (CSEL 25/2, 968.24-969.6). 

9. Edition: H. Wurm, Apollinaris 12. 1939, 57-78; the relevant passage p. 78. line 36. 
Reference should be made to the fact that the note about Andrew is missing in several MSS, 
which are not however dependent on one another. It could thus be an interpolation. 

10. D. de Bruyne, ‘Nouveaux fragments des Actes de Pierre, de Paul, de Jean, d’Andr£ et 
de 1’Apocalypse d’Elie’, Rev. binidictine 25,1908.150-160. 

11. Ed. E. voo Dobschtttz (TU 38.4), 1912,49-52. 

12. Ed. Bonnet, Aa II1,1-37. 

13. Ed. Bonnet, Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Scriptorum Rerum Merovingicanun 12, 

14. PO 120, cols. 216-260. 

15. The same phenomenon can be observed with the Martyrium sancti apostoli Andreae, 
known under the title of Narratio (ed. Barnet, AnaJBoll 13, 1894, 353-372). This text 
follows the AA only from cap. 9 on, i.e. from the arrival in Psoas. But by and large this 
martyrdom diverges too greatly from the AA to be of service for our reconstruction. 

16. Ed. R. Henry (Collection des University de France), Paris 1960, II, 84. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

17. Ed. Ch. Tchtrakian, tents apostoliques non canomques , Venice 1904. French trans. by 
L. Leloir. tcriis apocryphes sur les apotres (CChrSA 3), Tumhout 1986. 228-257. 

18. Especially the Coptic Papyrus Utrecht 1, the Laudatio and JS (see below, p. 104ff.). 

19. Very probably it is a question of the Passio sancti Andreae Apostoli, usually cited under 
the title Conversante et docente (ed. Bonnet, AnalBoll 13,1894,374-378). This Passion is 
a revision of the Letter of the Presbyters and Deacons ofAchaea, which depends on the AA. 
to which however the author probably had access only through a Latin translation. 

20. This section of the Armenian Passion agrees only very poorly with the corresponding 
Greek witnesses. Moreover it contains views about the resurrection which are influenced by 
biblical thought and alien to the AA. 

21. Ed. Th. Detorakis. Acts of the Second International Congress of Peloponnesian Studies 
I. Athens 1981/82. 325-352. 

22. Ed. Bonnet. Aa II 1. 38-45. 

23. Ed. Bonnet, Aa III. 58-64 

24. Ed. Bonnet. Aa II 1,58-64; in Bonnet's edition this second text is set beneath the first. 

25. Ed. Bonnet. Aa II 1.46-57. 

26. Ed. Bonnet, AnalBoll 13. 1894, 311-352. 

27. The Laudatio is thus of no assistance in reconstructing all those parts of the AA which 
precede the arrival in Patras. Even the report of the conflict with the demons in c. 18 does 
not come from the AA. Gregory certainly had a report about the conflict with demons before 
him in c. 6. exactly like the Narratio (c. 4) and Epiphanius (col. 232A). But these four 
accounts are not like one another. Also, in the Laudatio. die Narratio and Epiphanius they 
appear in pans of these works which are clearly not dependent on the AA. There was rather, 
in my opinion, a tradition according to which Andrew hunted the demons from Nicaea, a 
tradition which could have developed on the basis of the AA and which was then taken up 
by the three authors and written down in their several ways. 

28. Edited with an English trans. by J. Baras. ‘A Coptic Apocryphal Fragment in the 
Bodleian Library'. JThS NS 11. 1960. 70-76. 

29. Gregory to be sure writes nothing about such an appearance. But since the report in 
question could have stood at the beginning of the AA, and Gregory in any case reworked this 
beginning (unless it had already been worked over in the Latin exemplar which lay before 
Gregory), we cannot draw any special conclusions from this evidence. 

30. Ed. Bonnet. Aa II 1.65-116. 

31. Since Flamion most scholars are agreed that the story of the freeing of Matthias by 
Andrew does not belong to the AA. Recently D.R. MacDonald has challenged this view. Cf. 
on this question our discussion: 'The Acts of Andrew and Matthias and the Acts of Andrew, 
by D.R. MacDonald; Response by J.M. Prieur; Response by D.R. MacDonald'. The 
Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles (Semeia 38), 1986,9-39. 

32. Cf. Zahn (ed.), Acta Johannis, 1880. 135 line 12 to 150 line 12. 

33. Liber de miraculis , cap. 11, 832.20-22. 

34. In my study on the AA in the Corpus Chnstianorum. a single text is presented on the basis 
of these various Greek witnesses; the result does not c laim to reconstruct the text of the AA. 
but to approximate to it so far as is possible 

35. After these words JS and Ann Arbor 36 close with a trinitarian doxology, which 
obviously did not belong to the AA. 

36. To this it should be added that the Letter of the Presbyters and Deacons of Achaea also 
purports to be an eye-witness account. It is possible that the author of the letter found the 
idea in the AA itself. 

37. See J.M. Prieur. 'La figure de I’apdtre dans les Actes apocryphes d’Andrt', in F. Bov on 
et al„ Les Actes apocryphes, Geneva 1981. 121-139. 

38. Cf. the typology of C. Colpe, Die religionsgeschichtliche Schule. Darstellung undKritik 


The Acts of Andrew 

ihres Btides vom gnoslischert Erlosermythos. 1961. 

39. Andrew corresponds in many points to the topos of the divine man, as it is described in 
L. Bieler, 8EIOZ ANHP. Das Bild des “gdttlichen Menschen " in Spdtantikc und 
FrQhchristentum, 2 vols. 1935/36 (repr. 1976). 

40. According to the Coptic Papyrus Utrecht 1, the soldier on whom Andrew performed the 
exorcism casts away his weapons, and Stratocles, brother of the proconsul Aegeatcs 
(beginning of JS), asks the emperor for release from military service to devote himself to 

41. According to Gregory's Liber de miracuiis , Andrew establishes a bishopric (c. 6) and 
holds divine worship (c. 5 and 20). These however will be additions by Gregory. The Greek 
witnesses make no reference either to the office or to any rite, although the whole report of 
Andrew's last days offered many opportunities for doing so. 

42. On this problem of ‘polymorphy’ cf. E. Junod, ‘Polymorphic du dieu sauveur’, 
Gnosticisme et monde hellinistique (PIOL 27). Leuven 1982, 38-46. 

43. Lipsius thinks that the AA, like the other apocryphal Acts, are a gnostic writing. Flamion 
attempted to refute this idea and advocate the view that the author moved in the circles of 
the Great Church. Quispel starts out from the gnostic character of the AA, but then says more 
precisely as he goes on that people could have professed the ideas contained in the AA 
without leaving the ground of Church doctrine. Homschuh and PlUmacher admit gnostic 
features in the AA. but do not believe they can be assigned to a gnostic system. 

44. Homschuh likewise emphasises that one could not speak of a praedestinatio physica for 
the AA, and that the distinction among mankind is made on the basis of acceptance or 
rejection of the salvation proclaimed by Andrew. 

45. These are the characteristic marks of Neo-Pythagoreanism according to the list drawn 
up by A. Festugifcre, L'idiot religieux des Greet et rEvangile. Paris 1932, 79-84. 

46. This spiritual climate is particularly well described in E.R. Dodds. Pagan and Christian 
in an Age of Anxiety. Cambridge 1965. 

In Flamion's view the AA contain Neo-Platonic ideas, but that would lead us to think of the 
3rd century, which is too late a date as the terminus for such a redaction. Homschuh for his 
part drew attention to the closeness of the AA to Middle Platonism on the one hand and 
(following E. Peterson, ‘Bemerkungen rum Hamburger Papyrus-Fragment der Acta Pauli ’. 
FrOhkirche, Judentum und Gnosis . Rome/Freiburg/Vienna 1959, 183-208) the ideas of 
Tatian on the other. This affinity is evident. Without gainsaying this, we should nevertheless 
hold firmly that it is necessary to stand aloof from the arguments which Homschuch 
develops for a connection between the speculations about the cross in the AA and Platonism 
(ET 394). For the text on which they are based is precisely the Martyrium prius, which as 
we have seen does not reliably reproduce the original document, which is better preserved 
in the Armenian Passion. And the latter makes no connection between Cross and Logos. 

47. E. Junod and J.-D. Kaestli ( Acta Johannis , CChrSA 2, Tumhout 1983,695) make use 
of this argument to date the Acts of John to the same period. The Acts of John show a close 
proximity to the AA in terms both of the structure of their outward form and of their internal 
content. Also the autlior of the AA appears to have known the Acts of John. 

Various important common features allow us further to conclude that the author knew the 
Acts of Peter. If however this hypothesis is correct, it is not out of the question that the form 
of the APt known to the author of the AA was not the same as the one which has survived 
in the Latin version of the Actus Vercellenses (see below, pp. 287ff.). This actually has as 
its content a very classical Christology with frequent references to the earthly life of Christ 
and to his teaching. Over and above that there is reflected here the image of a church 
organisation which is more strongly developed and therefore even later than that of the AA. 
Further we must allow for the possibility that the AA were known to the authors of the Acts 
of Thomas and of Paul. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

48. E. Junod and J.-D. Kaestli set the composition of the Acts of John in Alexandria. The 
AA also show a great closeness in thought to the Authoritative Teaching (or Authentic 
Logos) and the Teachings of Silvanus. two pieces of Alexandrian origin which date to the 
2nd century. Cf. on these R. van den Broek, ’The Authentikos Logos: A New Document of 
Christian Platonism', VigChr 33,1979,260-286; J. Zandee, The Teaching cf Silvanus and 
Clement of Alexandria. A New Document of Alexandrian Theology, Leiden 1977. 


Wilhelm Schneemelcher 

Preliminary note: The comprehensive survey which J.M. Prieur has given in the 
introduction, of the tradition and of the reworking of the AA which has taken place in the 
course of the centuries, shows the manifold difficulties presented to the historian by this 
apocryphon, the original Greek text of which has not survived in toto. Certainly, as Prieur 
has indicated, a considerable part of the ancient AA can be approximately reconstructed. 
The edition in CChrSA will offer such a reconstruction, and thereby open up new paths 
for research. This we cannot anticipate in our collection. Rather it seems appropriate to 
renounce any reconstruction, and instead present a few important texts in the form in 
which they have been handed down to us. 

a) First we offer a comprehensive survey of the Liber de miraculis of Gregory of 
Tours. As already indicated, Gregory had the ancient AA in his hands (in a Latin version), 
and so reworked them as to make them acceptable in the Church-theological situation of 
the 6th century. He certainly contributes nothing for a reconstruction of the actual 
wording of the original AA, but from his revision we can deduce the course of events, and 
in particular the way followed by the apostle to his various halting-places. The 
martyrdom is dealt with only very briefly by Gregory, who refers for it to another 
description (on Gregory cf. above, pp. 106ff.). 

b) The fragment of an extract from the AA contained in the Coptic Papyrus Utrecht 
1, written in the 4th century, is specially valuable because on the one hand it shows how 
greatly Gregory altered his Vorlage (the text is to be compared with Gregory c. 18). and 
on the other it offers a part of the AA not extant elsewhere, the text of which may be placed 
not too far from the original work (cf. above, pp. 104; 107). 

c) The fragment handed down in Cod. Vatic, gr. 808 (10/11th cent.) is beyond doubt 
one of the most important witnesses for the original AA, and its text is therefore here given 
in full (cf. above, pp. 105; 109). 

d) A more extensive part of the AA the Martyrdom, is contained in two Greek 
manuscripts (JS, on which see above, pp. 105; 108f.). 

Certainly this text too is not completely ide n tical with the original AA but must be regarded 
as a revtsion, m whsch abridgements have been made in particular in the speeches. Despile this 
a great significance attaches to this text, and it is therefore here set forth. 

1. Gregory of Tours, On the Miracles of the Blessed Apostle Andrew 
(Summary of contents*) 

In the introduction Gregory explains his intentions; out of the Acts of Andrew 
before him, which some considered apocryphal because of their prolixity, he 
will bring together in a small book the most remarkable miracles of the apostle. 


The Acts of Andrew 

Gregory begins with a reference to the partitioning of the various regions 
of the earth among the individual apostles. 1 Andrew is to work as an apostle 
in Achaea, while Mermidona is assigned to Matthew. Chapter 1 is concerned 
with Matthew’s experiences there. 2 Andrew frees Matthew from his prison, 
and after he himself had run into danger converts the town. 1 

After these events he now goes ‘to his region’, i.e. he travels from 
Mermidona to Achaea (c. 2-21). On the way he heals a blind man (c. 2), 
although the place is not named. Perhaps this act was already accomplished in 
Amasia, where Andrew works later (c. 3). He preaches here for a long time, and 
then raises a dead boy. Many people are converted through his preaching and 
the miracle. 4 The story of the mother who accused her son of incestuous 
demands (c. 4) seems also to be enacted in Amasia. The son and the apostle, 
who accompanies him to the proconsul’s tribunal, are condemned. A prayer by 
Andrew is followed by an earthquake, in which the mother is killed. The 
proconsul is converted, and is baptised together with his household. 5 

On an appeal for help from an inhabitant of Sinope, Andrew sets out from 
Amasia to go there (c. 5). He frees this man’s son from an evil spirit, and also 
heals his parents, after reproaching them for their sins. They celebrate the 
communion together and are converted (in that order!). Gralinus, the citizen 
of Sinope, offers rich gifts in gratitude, but Andrew declines them. 

From Sinope the road leads in c. 6 to Nicaea. There seven demons are up 
to mischief on a road. At the entreaty of the inhabitants Andrew drives out the 
demons, and thus frees the whole region from a deadly danger. He then baptises 
the citizens of Nicaea and gives them a bishop. 6 

The demons expelled from Nicaea are however evidently still active. For 
when Andrew comes to Nicomedia (c. 7), he meets a funeral procession. 
According to the report which Andrew hears, the youth who is being borne to 
his grave was brought to his death by seven hounds, i.e. those very demons 
from Nicaea. Andrew awakens him to life and takes him into the service of the 
proclamation. He refuses the gifts offered to him. 

On the way to Byzantium, Andrew experiences a storm on the Hellespont, 
but calms it (c. 8). He continues his journey, to reach Thrace. 7 There is a report, 
without any precise indication of the place, of an encounter with heavily-armed 
men, who threaten the apostle. At his prayer an angel intervenes and disarms 
the group, so that Andrew can continue his journey unharmed (c. 9). 

He now arrives in Perm thus (c. 10) and there on the instructions of an angel 
embarks on a ship for Macedonia, the crew of which he converts. The 
following chapters (11 -20) are devoted to the apostle’s activity in Macedonia, 
that is, in Philippi and Thessalonica. Here the routes are not always clearly 
marked. The first report (c. 11) is of Andrew's preventing the marriage of two 
brothers and their cousins.' 

The next episode also probably takes place in Philippi (c. 12): a young man 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

from Thessalonica attaches himself to Andrew. His parents track him down 
and attempt to set fire to the house in which the apostle is with their son. 9 When 
this fails, they want to kill the youth by other means, but are stricken with 
blindness. The story ends with the conversion of all concerned, apart from the 
parents, who die fifty days later but leave their son a considerable fortune, 
which he employs in providing for the poor. 

At the young man’s request, Andrew goes with him to Thessalonica. There 
the young man preaches the Gospel. Andrew heals a man who has been 
crippled for twenty-three years (c. 13). This miracle is surpassed by the 
resuscitation of a young man done to death by a demon. The whole populace 
is converted (c. 14). The next episode again takes place in Philippi (c. 15). A 
man comes for Andrew, to heal his crippled son. When Andrew arrives in 
Philippi, it becomes known to him that the petitioner holds two people captive 
(it later turns out that there are actually nine). These are set free and healed from 
their wounds; then the son to whose aid the apostle was brought is also healed. 
The people now demand the healing of other invalids also, and with this task 
Andrew charges the young man. The people thereupon become believers and 
bring gifts, of which the apostle accepts nothing. 

Nicolaus, acitizenof the town, brings to Andrew a gilded carriage with four 
white asses and four white horses, and begs him to heal his daughter. The 
apostle answers with a speech in which he points away from the visible to the 
invisible eternal and spiritual values. >0 The hearers are converted, and Nicolaus’ 
daughter healed. The apostle’s fame spreads through all Macedonia (c. 16). 

A further exorcism (c. 17) also leads to successful conversions. Even 
philosophers come for discussions with Andrew. 11 In c. 18 Gregory - in much 
greater detail than elsewhere - summarises and re-shapes the events narrated 
also in the Coptic Papyrus Utrecht 1. According to Gregory’s report, Andrew 
is denounced before the proconsul V inn us as destroying the established order, 
in that he preached that people should worship only one God. The proconsul 
sends soldiers to arrest Andrew, but this is evidently only achieved after several 
attempts. Here the story is inserted of one of the soldiers, who is possessed by 
a demon and falls dead when it leaves him. Andrew brings him back to life, 
but this does not divot the proconsul from his wrath against the apostle. Rather 
he organises a fight with wild animals, in which however the animals do 
nothing to Andrew and a leopard finally kills the proconsul’s son, whom 
Andrew then immediately raises again to life. In the whole scene the people 
stand on the side of the apostle, and even want to kill the proconsul, but this 
Andrew prevents. 12 

Andrew performs a further miracle on the estate of a woman whom he had 
previously convened: a great dragon is destroyed, and a child who had been 
done to death by the dragon is raised again to life (c. 19). 

Chapter 20 prepares for the transition to Patras, and therefore for the 


The Acts of Andrew 

martyrdom. The apostle - evidently still in Philippi - has a dream which he 
reports to the brethren and in which the martyrdom is foretold. After instruction 
of the brethren, and prayer and communion, Andrew sets off for Thessalonica, 
where he stays for twodays and then continues his journey. During the crossing 
in two ships, Andrew again stills a storm, and rescues a man who had fallen 
overboard. Patras is reached after twelve days (c. 21). 

At the beginning of the activity in Patras (c. 22) stands the healing and 
conversion of the proconsul Lesbius. He wanted to persecute the apostle and 
put him to death, but was smitten in the night by two Ethiopians (demons?). 
Andrew heals him. 11 

The next chapter (23) is concerned above all with two women: Triphima, 
the proconsul’s former concubine, who has in the interval been converted by 
Andrew, and her fate in a brothel; and Calisto, the proconsul’s wife, who dies 
with another man in the bath. All the deceased are raised again to life by the 
apostle, and are reconciled to one another. The proconsul Lesbius, who is 
growing in faith, takes a walk with Andrew on the shore, and with this the next 
episode is prepared for. 14 There on the beach the next miracle takes place. A 
corpse is washed ashore, and Andrew recognises that here the devil has taken 
a hand in the game and that he must therefore raise up the dead man. He does 
so, and now learns that the man had heard of him and his message, and was 
therefore on his way to him. On the voyage he had with thirty-nine companions 
been the victim of a shtpwreck. At the apostle’s prayer the other thirty-nine 
corpses also are washed up on the shore and restored to life. 

In the next episode (c. 25) Andrew is summoned to a woman in Corinth, 
who is having difficulties in the birth of an illegitimate child. The proconsul 
Lesbius accompanies him. The child is bom dead, but the woman is converted. 

The events narrated in c. 26 also take place in Corinth. The father of 
Philopator, the young man raised to life in c. 23, travels after the apostle and 
finds him in Corinth. He too is won for the faith. The gifts which he brings to 
Andrew are declined by him. 

On a visit to a bath - evidently still in Corinth - an expulsion of demons by 
the apostle takes place (c. 27). This has for its sequel the story that sick people 
from the whole region are brought in and then healed. Probably still at the same 
place (Corinth) a seventy-four year-old man comes to Andrew and confesses 
that he has led a profligate life and repeatedly fallen into sin, although he 
manifestly believes in the power of the Gospel. With prayer and fasting 
Andrew brings about a change. The man is forgiven, and after a six-month fast 
he dies in peace (c. 28). 

While the apostle is staying in Corinth, a man comes from Megara to beg 
for help against demons who are plying their mischief in his house (c. 29). 
Andrew sets off for Megara - from or through Sparta 15 - and there overcomes 
the demons and heals the householder plagued by them. The family in the 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

future helps in the proclamation of the Gospel. 

With c. 30 Gregory’s report returns to Patras. There Andrew is summoned 
by Iphidama" to the sick Maximilla, wife of the proconsul Aegeates. The latter 
stands beside his wife’s bed, ready to kill himself should Maximilla die. 
Andrew heals the woman, for which the proconsul wishes to pay with a gift 
of gold, but the apostle does not accept it. 

After a short report about the healing of a cripple (c. 31), Gregory tells of 
a Wind family to whom Andrew restores their sight (c. 32). Then follows the 
healing of a sick man (probably a leper) outside the city (c. 33). 17 

During these events Stratocles, the brother of Aegeates, has come from 
Italy to Patras. A boy from his retinue is seized by a demon and falls (evidently 
dead) to the ground. Maximilla and Iphidama see to it that Andrew can 
undertake the healing of the boy. Stratocles is converted (c. 34)." Maximilla 
has herself instructed daily - in Aegeates’ absence - by Andrew. She has 
resolved upon continence, which arouses the proconsul’s wrath against the 
apostle. When Aegeates returns to Patras, Andrew sees to it that the Christians 
assembled in the praetorium may disappear without hindrance (c. 35). 

In c. 36 Gregory reports in only a few words - with a reference to the lectio 
passionis' 9 - the apostle’s death and the burial of his corpse by Maximilla. This 
is followed by a brief note about the miracles at his grave (c. 37). He adds also 
the remark that he has not reported the martyrdom of Andrew in detail, because 
there is another good account of it. 10 Gregory then ends his exposition with a 
personal closing sentence (c. 38). 



• After Gregorii Episcopi Turoneruis Liber de miraculis Beau Andreae Aposioh , ed. M. 
Bonnet (MGH Script, rerum Merovin. 1/2) 1885, 826-846. 

1. On the problem of the partition of the mission areas cf. Jean-Daniel KaesUi, Les seines 
d'attribution des champs de mission et le dipart de l'apdtre dans les Actes apocryphes', in 
F. Bovon et al„ Les Actes apocryphes des Apdtres, 1981,249-264. 

2. On the 'Acts of Andrew and Matthias among the cannibals’ cf. below, pp. 443ff. 

3. it is questionable whetherc. 1 belonged to the original AA. On thisef. Prieur. above p. 106f. 
The vague and confused beginning of c. 2, in my opinion, also tells against its belonging there. 

4. These conversions resulting from preaching ami miracles are repeated in stereotyped 
fashion by Gregory. 

5. Cf. the AJ of Pseudo-Prochorus (Zahn 135.12-150.12). On this see Prieur, pp. 107f. above. 

6. The end of this chapter certainly goes back to Gregory. In the original AA there is no 
reference to church offices. The rest of the story is also reported in the Narratio and Laudalio 
(cf. Homschuh, NTApo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 11. ET 399). 

7. Here Gregory has considerably shortened his Vortage. 

8. This episode is also mentioned in the Epistle of Pseudo-Titus; cf. Prieur, above p. 103. 


The Acts of Andrew 

9. A Manichean psalm alludes to this; cf. Prieur, above p. 101 f. 

10. Some formulations in this speech sound as if Gregory had taken them over from the 
original AA. 

11. On the problem of the ‘philosophers’ cf. Prieur. above pp. 110; 113f. 

12. This chapter is particularly instructive for Gregory's way of working. The Coptic text 
Pap. Utrecht 1 is part of an early version of the original AA. It is however completely 
different in theological intention from Gregory’s report Evidently Gregory not only revised 
the episode of the soldier freed from a demon, but also to a considerable extent used other 
parts of the context Above all he completely eliminated the speeches, and so totally altered 
the theological statements of the text. Cf. Prieur, above p. 107. 

13. In this chapter also Gregory has compressed and altered his Vorlage, as can be seen from 
parallels in other witnesses; cf. Prieur, above pp. 107f. 

14. Here Gregory has probably summarised a fairly extensive text, but not always 
successfully, as several obscurities show. 

15. Here Gregory has evidently alluded simply by the place-names to an episode to which 
he gave no consideration. 

16. The name is not transmitted with any unanimity; Iphidama or Iphidamia. 

17. For c. 33-34 there are detailed parallels in the Laudatio, cf. Prieur. above p. 108f. 

18. From here on Gregory has summarised in a very compressed form what is reported in JS. 

19. As with many apocryphal Acts of apostles, the martyrdom became independent at an 
early dale. 

20. Cf. on this Prieur, above p. 116, note 19. 

2. Pap. Copt Utrecht 1 
(Text established by Roelof van den Brock, 
translation from the Coptic by Gilles Quispel 
and RMcL. Wilson) 

(the) apostle. But when Andrew 
the apostle of Christ heard 

that they had arrested the (faithful) from tire city on his 
account, he arose and went out into the middle 
5 of the street and said to the brethren 

that there was no reason to pretend anything (vmoxQtvEiv). 
And while the apostle was yet speaking these words, 
there was a young man (there), (one) of 
the four soldiers, in 

10 whose body was hidden a demon. But when 
that young man had come into 
the presence of the apostle, he cried out 
and said: ‘O Varianus, 

what have I done to you that you should send me 
15 to this god-fearing man?’ 

When the young man had said this, 
the demon cast him down ami mark 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

him foam at the mouth. His fellow-soldiers 
however seized him and attempted 
20 <10 raiso him <up>. But Andrew 
pitied the young man and said 
to his fellow-soldiers: 

Are you ashamed before me, because you see that your nature (<f>voig) 
betrays you? Why 

25 do you take away <from him> the prize, so that 
he cannot appeal to his king that he 
may receive help and be able to fight 
against the demon who is hidden in his 
limbs? Not only that he is appealing 
30 for this, but he is speaking in 

the language of the palace, so that his 
king will soon hear him. For I hear 
him say: “<0> 

Varianus, what have I <done to you> 

35 that you <should send me to this> god¬ 
fearing <man>?’" <The apostle Anxircw 

C Lacuna of 6 to 8 lines of about 22 letters ) 

against me. For this thing which I have done, 

I have not done it of myself, but 
I was compelled (to do it). I will tell you 
of this affair as well as possible. 

5 This young man, who is (so) tormented in his body, 
has a sister, a virgin (napOevog), 
who is a great ascetic (noXiTEirrrig) 
and champion (dQkirtf^). Truly I say, 
she is near to God because of 
10 her purity and her prayers and 
her alms. Now, to relate it 
briefly, there was 

somebody near to her house who was a great 
magician. It happened 
15 one day thus: at the time of evening 
the virgin went up on 
her roof to pray. The young 
magician saw her praying. 

Semmath entered into him to 
20 contend against this great champion. 


The Acts of Andrew 

The young magician said within 
himself: “If I have spent five and twenty years 
undo* the instruction of my master until I was 
trained in this skill (texvt]), 

25 this (then) is the beginning of my craft (texvq); 
should I not be stronger than this virgin, I shall not 
be able for any work.” 

And the young magician conjured up 
great powers against the virgin, 

30 and sent them after her. But when 
the demons came to tempt her 
or (even) to persuade her, 
they took the form of her brother and knocked 
at the door. And she arose and went down 
35 to open the door, since she thought that 
it was her brother. But fust she prayed 
earnestly, so that the demons became like 

[.] and fled away. 

[.] the young <man> 


(Lacuna of 4-6 lines of about 22 letters) 

The virgin wept 

in the presence of Teirousia. Teirousia (Erucia?) however 

said to the virgin: ‘Why 

do you weep? Do you not know that those who 

5 shall go to this place ought not to weep? 

For that is the place [.]. Now 

these powers pursue after you ’. 

Teirousia said: ‘Why do you weep, 
while sorrow. 

10 Now however, since you are weeping over your brother, 

because a god.with him, 

tomorrow I will send him to the 
apostle Andrew, that he may 
heal him. Not only that I will 

15 heal him, but I shall bring it about that he 
shall gird himself for the palace’. When 
the demon had said this, the apostle said 
to him: ‘How did you acquire knowledge 
concerning the hidden mysteries of 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

20 the height? If a soldier is 

cast out from the palace, he is not at all 

allowed to leant the 

mysteries of the palace. How 

will he learn the hidden mysteries of the height?’ 

25 The demon said 
to him: ‘I descended 
in this night into this 
young man, while a power from 

the height entered in. 

30.friend of the virgin 

in him.while she 

will go away. 

Her (the virgin’s) friend said: 

35 befalls me, because.For 

the great power came down from 
the height in this night 

(4 lints mutilated. Lacuna of 3-5 lines of about 20 letters) 

‘Why then should you not tremble, since you 
speak out the mysteries of the height? 

I tremble wholly in all my limbs 

and I glorify the receiver (jtacaXfiprettjug) 

5 who is coming for the souls 
of the saints. 

O champions of virtue, not in vain 
have you contended: see, the judge of the contest 
prepares for you the crown 
10 unfading. O warriors, 
not in vain have you 
put on weapons and 
shields, and not in vain have you 
endured wars: 

15 the king has prepared the palace for you. 

O virgins, 

not in vain have you guarded the purity, 
and not in vain have you 
persevered in prayers, 

20 while your lamps burned 
in the midst of the night, until 
die call reached you: “Arise, 


The Acts of Andrew 

go out to meet the 
bridegroom”'. When the apostle 
25 had said this, he turned 
to the demon and said to him: 

‘It is now fully time for you 
to come out from this young man, 
that he may gird himself 
30 for the heavenly palace’. 

The demon said to the apostle: 

‘Truly, O man of God, 

I have never destroyed a limb of his, 
thanks to the holy hands of 
35 his sister. But now I will 
go out from this young man, 
to whom I have done not the slightest damage 
in his members.' 

And after the demon had said this 
40 he came out of the young man. 

After he <had departed> from 
the young <man>. 

0 Lacuna of 1-3 lines of about 19 letters) 

of soldiery and (cast it away) 
before the eyes of the apostle, 
saying: ‘O man of God, 

I have spent 

5 twenty pieces of gold 

to acquire this ephemeral garment 1 for myself; 
but now 

I will give all that I possess 
that I may obtain for myself the uniform 
10 of your God.’ His comrades in 
arms said to him: 

‘O wretched youth, if you 
deny the emperor’s uniform, 
you will be punished.' 

15 The young man said to them: 

‘Truly I am wretched because of my 
former sins. Would that 
my punishment were only because of this, 
that I denied the uniform of the emperor, 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

20 and that I be not punished 

because I have despised the (baptismal) 
garment of the immortal King of the ages (auiiv). 

O ignorant ones, do you not see 
what kind of a man this is? 

25 He has no sword in his hand nor 
any weapon of war, and (yet) 
these great miracles are 
wrought by him.’ 

The Act (nQa|ig) of Andrew. 


2. Pap. Copt. Utrecht 1 

1. oxffc&a (cf. Phil. 2:8): in these lines this word is used both for the transitory uniform 
of the emperor (6, 13. 19) and for the eternal garment’ of God (9. 21). In Coptic 
monasticism it is also used of a monk’s habit. [R.M.W.] 

3. Codex Vaticanus 808 
(Aa II 1, pp. 38-45) 

‘... is there in you only feebleness? Have you not yet convinced yourselves 
that you do not yet bear his goodness? Let us reverently rejoice among 
ourselves in our abundant fellowship with him. Let us say to one another: 
Happy is our race! by whom has it been loved? Happy is our existence! from 
whom has it received mercy? We are not cast to the ground, we who have been 
recognised by such a height. We do not belong to time in order that we may 
be then dissolved by time. We are not the product (handiwork) of movement, 
which is again destroyed by itself, (we are) not of (earthly) birth in order to die 
(again) therein. 1 We are rather those who pursue greatness. We belong <to it> 
and [probably] 2 to him who has mercy on us. We belong to the better, therefore 
we flee the worse. We belong to the noble, through whom we drive away the 
mean; to the righteous, through whom we cast away unrighteousness; to the 
merciful, through whom we reject the unmerciful; to the Saviour, through 
whom we recognised the destroyer, to the light, through whom we banished 
the darkness; to the One, through whom we have turned away from the many; 
to the heavenly, through whom we understood the earthly; to the abiding, 
through whom we perceived the transitory. If we intend fitly to thank the God 
who has mercy on us or to acknowledge to him our confidence or to offer him 
a song of praise or to glorify him, <we can do it on no other basis> than that 
we have been recognised by him.’ 3 


The Acts of Andrew 

2. When he had thus addressed the brethren he sent them away, each to his own 
home, saying to them: ‘Neither are you ever forsaken by me, you who are 
servants of Christ on account of the love that is in him, nor again shall I myself 
be forsaken by you on account of his mediation.’ And each went away to his 
own house. Arid there was such joy among them for many days during which 
Aegeates had no thought of pursuing the charge against the apostle. So they 
were then each confirmed in hope toward the Lord; and they gathered fearlessly 
with Maximilla, Iphidamia and the others into the prison, protected by the 
guardianship and grace of the Lord. 

3. One day when Aegeates was acting as judge he remembered the affair of 
Andrew. And just as if he had become mad he left the case with which he was 
dealing and rising from the bench went at the run into the praetorium and 
embraced and flattered Maximilla She, coming from the prison, had entered 
the house before him; and when he had come in he said to her 

4. ‘Thy parents, Maximilla, considered me worthy of marriage with you, and 
gave you to me as wife, looking neither to wealth nor family nor renown, but 
perhaps (only) to the good character of my soul. And intending <to pass over> 
much with which I wished to reproach you, both things which I have enjoyed 
from your parents and things which you (enjoyed) from me during all our life 
together, <1 have come from the court> to learn this alone from you; <give me 
thercforo a reasonable <answer>*: if you were the person you used to be, 
living with me in the way we know, sleeping with me, keeping up marital 
intercourse with me, bearing my children, then I would treat you well in 
everything; even more, I would release the stranger whom I have in prison. But 
if you are not willing, I would not do you any harm, indeed 1 could not; but the 
one whom you love more than me, I will torture him so much the more. 
Consider then, Maximilla, which you wish and answer me tomorrow; for I am 
completely prepared for it’ 

5. And when he had said this he went out. But Maximilla went again at the 
usual time with Iphidamia to Andrew; and laying his hands on her face she 
kissed them and began to tell him in full of the demand of Aegeates. And 
Andrew answered her ‘I know, Maximilla my child, that you arc moved to 
resist the whole allurement of sexual intercourse, because you wish to be 
separated from a polluted and foul way of life. And this (attitude) has governed 
my mind for a long time; and now I will declare to you my opinion. I earnestly 
beseech you not to do this; do not give way to the threat of Aegeates; do not 
be overcome through association with him; do not fear his shameful intention; 
do not be overcome by his clever flattery; do not consent to give yourself up 
to his impure spells; but endure all his torments, looking unto us for a short 
time; and you will see him wholly paralysed and wasting away from you and 
from all who are akin (by nature) to you. 5 For what I really ought to say to you 
- for I do not rest in accomplishing the matter seen through you and coming 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

to pass through you - has eluded me (until now). And I rightly see in you Eve 
repenting and in myself Adam being converted: for what she suffered in 
ignorance you to whose soul I direct my words are now setting right again 
because you are converted: and what the mind suffered which was brought 
down with her and was estranged from itself, I put right with you who know 
that you yourself are being drawn up. For you yourself who did not suffer the 
same things have healed her affliction; and I by taking refuge with God have 
perfected his (Adam’s) imperfection: and where she disobeyed, you have been 
obedient; and where he acquiesced, there I flee; and where they let themselves 
be deceived, there we have known. For it is ordained that everyone should 
correct his own fall. 

6.1 then said these things as I have said them; and I would also say the 

Well done, O nature, you who arc saved despite your weakness and though 
you did not hide yourself. 

Well done, O soul, you who have cried aloud what you have suffered and 
are returning to yourself. 

Well done, O man, you who are learning what is not yours and desiring what 
is yours. 

Well done, you who hear what is being said. For I know that you are more 
powerful than those who seem to overpower you, more glorious than those 

who are casting you down in shame, than those who are leading you away to 

imprisonment. If, O man, you understand all these things in yourself, namely 
that you are immaterial, holy, light, akin to the unbegotten, intellectual, 
heavenly, translucent, pure, superior to the flesh, superior to the world, 4 
superior to powers, superior to authorities, over whom you really arc, if you 
perceive yourself in your condition, then take knowledge in what you are 
superior. And you, when you have looked at your face in your own being and 
broken every bond, -1 mean not only those about birth, but those beyond birth 
whose exceeding great names we have set out for you - desire to see him who 
has appeared to you, who has not come into being, whom you alone will 
recognise with confidence. 

7.1 have said these things in reference to you, Maximilla, for what has been 
said in its meaning concerns even you. As Adam died in Eve because of the 
harmony of their relationship, so even now I live in you who keep the command 
of the Lord and who give yourself over to the state (dignity) of your (true) 
being. But scorn the threats of Aegeates, Maximilla, for you know that we have 
a God who is merciful to us. Aral do not let his empty talk move you, but remain 
chaste; and let him not only punish me with tortures and bonds, but let him even 
throw me to the beasts or bum me with fire or hurl me from a cliff - what does 
it matter? Let him ill-treat this body as he wishes, it is only one; it is akin (in 
nature) to his own. 


The Acts of Andrew 

8. My words arc intended again for you. Maximil la. I say to you. Do not 
give yourself over to Aegeates; stand out against his snares, especially since 
I have seen the Lord (in a vision) who said to me: “Andrew, Aegeates’ father, 
the devil, will release you from this prison.” For you, then, keep yourself 
henceforward chaste and pure, holy, undefiled, sincere, free from adultery, 
unwilling for relationship with him who is a stranger to us, unbent, unbroken, 
tearless, unhurt, immovable in storms, undivided, free from offence, and 
without sympathy for the works of Cain. 7 For if you do not give yourself over, 
Maximilla, to the things that are the opposites of these, I shall rest, being thus 
compelled to give up this life for your sake, that is for my own sake. But if I, 
who am perhaps even able to help other (souls) akin to you through you, am 
driven away from here and if you are persuaded by your relationship with 
Aegeates and by the flatteries of his father, the serpent, to return to your earlier 
ways, know that I shall be punished on your account until you would 
understand that I had spumed life for the sake of a soul that was unworthy. 

9. I beg you, then, the wise man (sic!), that your noble mind continue 
steadfast; I beg you, the invisible mind, that you may be preserved yourself; 
I exhort you, love Jesus and do not submit to the worse; help me, you, on whose 
aid as man I call, that I may be perfect; help me, that you may know your own 
true nature; suffer with my suffering, that you may know what I suffer and you 
will escape suffering. See what I see and what you see will blind you; see what 
you ought to see and you will not see what you ought not; hear what I say and 
what you have not heard reject. 

10.1 have said these things to you and to everyone who will listen, if indeed 
he will listen. But you, Stratocles,' he said, looking at him, ‘why are you so 
distressed with many tears and why do you sigh so audibly? Why your 
despondency? Why your great pain and great grief? You know what has been 
said, and why then do I beseech you as (my) child to be in control of yourself? 
Do you understand to whom the words that are said are addressed? Has each 
gripped your mind? Has it made contact with you in your intellectual part? 
Have I you as one who hears me? Do I find myself in you? Is there in you 
someone who speaks to you, whom I see as belonging to myself? Does he love 
the one who speaks in me and does he desire to have fellowship with him? Will 
he be made one with him? Does he hasten to be loved by him? Does he strive 
to be united with him? Does he find in him any peace? Does he have where he 
may lay his head?' Is there nothing there which is opposed to him, which 
behaves unfriendly, which resists him, which hates him, which flees (from 
him), which is savage, which withdraws, which has turned away, which rushes 
away, which is burdened, which fights, which associates with others, which is 
flattered by others, which combines with others? Are there other things which 
trouble him? Is there someone within me who is foreign to me? An adversary? 
a destroyer? an enemy? a cheat? a sorcerer? a corrupted? a man of furtive 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

character? a deceitful man? a misanthrope? a hater of the word? one like a 
tyrant? a boaster? an arrogant man? a madman? a kinsman of the serpent? a 
weapon of the devil? a champion of the fire? a friend of darkness? Is there in 
you, Stratocles, someone who will not endure me speaking like this? Who is 
it? Answer! Am I speaking in vain, have I spoken in vain? No, says the man 
in you, Stratocles, who is again weeping.’ 

11. And Andrew took the hand of Stratocles and said: T have him whom 
I loved. I will rest on him for whom I waited; your present groans and incessant 
weeping have become a sign to me that I have already enjoyed rest, that I have 
not addressed in vain to you these words which are akin to my own nature.’ 

12. And Stratocles answered him: ‘ Do not think, most blessed Andrew, that 
there is anything other than yourself which troubles me: for the words which 
come forth from you are like fiery arrows piercing into me; each of them 
touches me and truly sets me on fire. That part of my soul which inclines to the 
things I hear is being punished because it has a presentiment of the distress that 
comes after this. For you yourself go away and I know well that you will do 
it nobly. Where and in whom shall I seek and find hereafter your care and love? 
When you were the sower 1 received the seeds of the words of salvation. And 
for these to sprout and grow up there is need of no other than yourself, most 
blessed Andrew. And what else have 1 to say to you than this? I need the great 
mercy and help that comes from you, to be able to be worthy of the seed I have 
from you. which will only grow permanently and emerge into the light if you 
wish it and pray for it and for my whole self.’ 

13. And Andrew answered him: ’That, my son, was what I myself also saw 
in you. And I praise my Lord that my opinion of you was not wrong but knows 
(rather) what it says. And so that you may know: Aegeates will to-morrow hand 
me over to be crucified. For the servant of the Lord, Maximilla, will enrage the 
enemy in him, the enemy to whom he belongs, when she refuses to take part 
with him in those things which are alien to her (to her true nature). And by 
turning on me he will think to console himself.’ 

14. While the Apostle was so speaking Maximilla was absent. For when she 
had heard what he answered her and had been in some way impressed by it and 
had become what the words signified, she had gone out, neither rashly nor 
without set purpose, and had gone to the praetorium. And she had said farewell 
to her whole life in (with) the flesh and when Aegeates brought up the same 
matter which he had told her to consider, i.e. whether she was willing to sleep 
with him, she rejected it; from then on he turned his mind to the murder of 
Andrew and considered in what way he might kill him. And when crucifixion 
alone of all deaths mastered him Ik went away with some of his friends and 
dined. But Maximilla, the Lord going before her in the form of Andrew, went 
with Iphidamia to the prison. Ami there she came on him with a great crowd 
of the brethren discoursing as follows: 


The Acts of Andrew 

15. ‘ Brethren, I was sent as an apostle by the Lord into these parts, of which 
my Lord thought me worthy, not indeed to teach anyone, but to remind 
everyone who is akin to these words that they live in transient evils while they 
enjoy their harmful delusions. From which things I always exhorted you to 
keep clear and to press towards the things that are permanent and to take flight 
from all that is transient For you see that no one of you stands firm, but 
everything, even to the ways of men, is changeable. And this is the case because 
the soul is untrained and has gone astray in nature ($uot£) and retains pledges 
corresponding to its error. I therefore hold blessed those who obey the words 
preached to them and who through them see as in a minor the mysteries of their 
own nature, for the sake of which all things were built. 

16. I therefore command you, beloved children, to build firmly on the 
foundation’ which has been laid for you, for it is unshakeable and no evil person 
can assail it Be rooted on this foundation. Stand fast remembering what <you 
saw?> 10 and what happened while I was living among you all. You have seen 
works take place through me which you have not the power to disbelieve, and 
signs such that dumb nature would perhaps have cried them out. 1 * I have 
communicated to you words which, I pray, have been received by you in the 
way the words themselves would wish. Stand fast then, beloved, in everything 
which you have seen and heard and shared in. And God, whom you have 
trusted, will have mercy on you and present you acceptable to himself, to have 
rest for all eternity. 

17. Do not be troubled by what is about to happen to me as if it were some 
strange marvel that the servant of God, to whom God himself has granted much 
through works and words, should be forcibly expelled from this temporal life 
by an evil man. For such will happen not only to myself but to all who have 
been loving him, trusting him and who confess him. The devil, who is utterly 
shameless, will arm his own children against them, so that they may be his 
adherents. But he will not obtain what he desires. And I will tell you why he 
attempts these things: From the beginning of all things, and, if I may so put it, 
from the time when he who is without beginning came down to be subject to 
his ‘rule’, the enemy, an opponent of peace, drives away (from God) whoever 
does not belong to him but is only one of the weaker and has not attained to 
full brightness and cannot yet be recognised. And because he did not even 
know him (the devil), he must for that reason be locked in combat with him. 
For since he (the devil) thinks that he possesses him and will always rule him, 
he fights against him so much that their enmity becomes a kind of friendship. 
In order to subject him he often sketched his own pleasure-seeking and 
deceitful nature, by which means he thought to dominate him completely. He 
did <not>' 2 therefore show himself openly as an enemy but he pretended a 
friendship worthy of himself. 

18. And he carried on his work for so long that man forgot to recognise it. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

whereas he (the devil) knew: that is, on account of his gifts he <was not seen 
to be an enemy>. 13 But when the mystery of grace was lighted up, and the 
counsel of (eternal) rest was made known and the light of the word appeared 
and it was proved that the redeemed race had to struggle against many 
pleasures, the enemy himself was scorned, and, because of the goodness of 
Him who is merciful was mocked in respect of his own gifts by which he 
appeared to triumph over him (man), then he began to plot against us with 
hatred and enmity and arrogance. And this he practises: not to leave us alone 
until he thinks to separate us (from God). For then indeed our adversary was 
without care; and he pretended to offer us a friendship such as was worthy of 
him. And he had no fear that we whom he had led astray should revolt from 
him. However the possession of the plan of salvation, which enlightened us 
(like a light), has <made his enmity> not stronger <but clearer>. 14 For the 
hidden part of his nature and what appeared concealed he has exposed and 
prepared it to confess what it (really) is. Since therefore, brethren, we know the 
future, let us awake from sleep, not being discontented, nor cutting a fine 
figure, nor bearing in our souls his marks which are not our own, but being 
lifted up wholly in the whole word, let us all await with joy the end and take 
flight from him, that henceforth he may be seen as he is, the one who our nature 
against our... 

Codex Vatican us 808 

1. Bonnet already notes at this point: num sanal Erbetta (U, 399) translates: e neppure siamo 
causa della vita. not. Id cm fine i idem tea. 

2. xdxa probably does not fit the context. 

3. So Honuchuh (NTApo*. ET 409); Bonnet: videtur aliquid deesse\ Hennecke (NTApo* 
252): 'So let us boast of nothing more in him. than that we have been recognised by him.’ 

4. Restoration after Bonnet. 

5. Homschuh: 'gradually wasting away and leaving you and those who an akin (by nature) 
to you’. 

6-Cf.Col. 1:16. 

7. Cf. 1 Jn. 3:12. 

8. Cf. Mt 8:20. 

9. Cf. Eph. 2:20. 

10. Conjecture by Bonnet. 

11. Cf.Lk. 19:40. 

12. Conjecture by Bonnet 

13. The text at this point is corrupt; restoration by Homschuh (NTApo\ ET 416), following 
Hennecke (NTApo 3 254). 

14. Conjecture by Bonnet 


The Acts of Andrew 

4. Martyrdom of the holy and glorious 
first-called Andrew the Apostle 

Translated after Detorakis’ edition* 

[p. 333] Stratocles, the brother of Aegeates, having asked Caesar for release 
from military service to turn to philosophy, arrived from Italy in Patras at that 
time. And a great confusion seized the whole praetorium because of <Stratocles>, 
who had come to Aegeates after some length of time; Maximilla wait out from 
ha bedroom to meet him gladly, and having greeted Stratocles went into the 
house with him. And when the sky became clear and bright, she was by herself, 
but Stratocles fulfilled his proper duty to his friends, bearing himself kindly to 
all and greeting all in gracious and seemly fashion. 

While he was about this, a certain slave of the household of <Stratocles>, 
smitten by a demon, lay paralysed on a dung-heap, one whom he greatly loved. 
When he saw him, he said: ‘Would that I had never come, but had perished in 
the sea, that this should not have befallen me; for indeed I could not, my 
friends’ - turning to his companions - 'live without him.’ And as he said this, 
he smote his face, being greatly disturbed and unseemly to look upon. And 
when Maximilla heard it, she came out of ha bedroom, herself distressed, and 
said to Stratocles: * Have no care, brother, on account of this slave; he will soon 
be saved. For there is come to dwell in this city a very god-fearing man, who 
is able not only to put demons to flight, but even if some ill-omened and terrible 
disease take hold, he will heal it. We have such trust in him, but we say this 
as having experience of him.’ And Iphidama said the same to Stratocles. 
holding him back lest he venture something terrible, since he was wholly 
beside himself. And as they were both comforting him, Andrew arrived at the 
[p. 334] praetorium, having arranged with Maximilla to come to her. And 
when he entered the gateway he said: 'Some power is striving within, la us 
hasten, brethren.’ And without even asking anyone, he immediately entered in 
at a run where Stratocles’ slave was foaming at the mouth, utterly convulsed. 
All those who had run up at Stratocles’ cries were at a loss as to who he might 
be, when they suddenly saw him smiling and parting the by-slanders and 
making room for himself until he came to the slave lying on the ground. And 
those who knew him of old and had experience of him, whatever god they 
feared, made way fa him. But Stratocles’ slaves, seeing that he was a humble 
man and meanly clad, tried to strike him; the others, seeing them insulting him, 
rebuked those who knew not what they were daring. And they, calming down, 
waited to see the end. 

And immediately one told Maximilla and Iphidama that the blessed one 
had arrived. And they full of joy leaped up from their places and came to 
Stratocles. ‘Cone then, and you will see how your slave is made strong.’ So 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

he arose and went with them. But when Stratocles saw a very great crowd 
standing around his slave, he said quietly: ‘You have become a spectacle when 
you came to Achaea, Alcmanes’ (for this was the slave’s name). And Andrew 
looked at Maximilla, and with his eyes on her said this: ‘What most causes 
shame, my child, for those who out of much storm and wandering turn to faith 
in God, is to see sufferings which have been given up as hopeless by the many 
healed. For see what I say, and now see happening here. Magicians have taken 
their stand, unable to do anything, who also have given the slave up for lost, 
and others whom we all in common see as meddlesome because they have not 
been able to drive out this terrible demon from the unhappy slave, since they 
are its kinsmen. It was beneficial to say this because of the crowd that is 
present.’ And without delay he rose up and said: ‘O God who does not hearken 
to the magicians, God who does not yield himself to the meddlesome, God who 
stands apart from the alien, God who ever grants your gifts to your own, grant 
now that my request be speedily fulfilled before all these in the slave of 
Stratocles, putting to flight the demon whom his kinsmen could not drive out. ’ 
And immediately the demon, speaking with a man’s voice, said: *1 flee, servant 
and man of God, I flee not only from this slave, but also from this whole city.’ 
And Andrew said to him: ‘Not only from this city do I command you to take 
flight, but if anywhere there is even the footprint of a brother of mine, I forbid 
you to enter upon those places.' And when the demon had departed, Alcmanes 
rose up from the ground, [p. 335] as Andrew stretched out his hand to him; and 
he sat down with him, sound in mind and tranquil and talking normally, 
looking happily at Andrew and his master, and asking the cause of the crowd 
within. And he answered him: ‘There is no need for you to learn anything of 
the alien. It is enough for us who have seen in you what we have seen.’ 1 
And while they were about this, Maximilla took the hand of Andrew and of 
Stratocles and went into the bedroom, and all the brethren who were there went 
in with them. And when they had sat down they looked towards the blessed 
Andrew, that he might say something. And Maximilla was eager, for Stratocles’ 
sake, for the apostle to converse, that he might believe in the Lord. For his 
brother Aegeates was exceedingly blasphemous and very wretched regarding 
the better course. So Andrew began to say to Stratocles: ‘I know well, 
Stratocles, that you are moved by what has happened. But I know also that it 
was necessary for the man now slumbering in you to be brought into the open. 
For to be at once at a loss and to ponder on what has happened, whence or how 
it came about, is the best proof of the disturbed soul in you; and the perplexity 
in you, the hesitation, the astonishment, make me well disposed. Bring forth, 
my child, what you have, and do not only give yourself up to travails. I am not 
uninitiated in midwifery, but not in the soothsayer’s art It is what you give 
birth to that I love. It is what you keep silent, but I speak forth, which I will care 
for even within you. I know him who is silent, I know him who yearns, already 


The Acts of Andrew 

your new man speaks to me, already he appeals to me as to what he has ever 
suffered many a time. He is ashamed at his former religion, grieved at his first 
way of life, all his former observances he counts as vain, he is at a loss as to 
what is really piety, silently he reproaches his former vain gods, he suffers, 
having become a wanderer for the sake of instruction. What was his former 
philosophy? He knows now that it is vain. He sees that it is empty and dashed 
to the ground; now he learns that it promises nothing of the things that are 
necessary, now he confesses that it pledges nothing useful. What then? Does 
not the man in you, Stratocles, say these things?’ 

And Stratocles after a great groan answered thus: 'Most prophetic man and 
truly messenger of the living God, I will not depart from you until I know 
myself, having condemned all these and the vain things with which you have 
not reproached me for wearing myself out in them. ’ And Stratocles was with 
the apostle night and day, never leaving him, [p.336] on the one hand inquiring 
and learning and being refreshed, on the other silent and glad, having become 
truly a friend of the hearing of salvation who, having bid farewell to all that was 
his, wished only to spend his life with the apostle alone. For no longer did he 
question the blessed one at all in the presence of someone, but while the other 
brethren were doing something else, he inquired of him privately. When they 
turned to sleep, he stayed awake, and not even allowing Andrew to sleep he 
continued rejoicing. But Andrew did not weary of making Stratocles’ ques¬ 
tions known to the brethren, and said to him: ‘Reap your debts twofold, 
Stratocles, since you both inquire of me privately and also hear the same things 
in the presence of the brethren. For thus what you desire and seek will be better 
set in you; it is not right not to set forth your birth-pangs to those who are like 
you. For as with a woman giving birth, when the pangs take hold of her and 
the babe strives by some power not to remain within but to struggle to the 
outside, this too is evident and not obscure to the women present, who have 
shared in the same mysteries. The child itself cries out after the mother has 
already screamed. Then after the birth they bring to the child a treatment which 
they know who are initiated, that so far as in them lies something may become 
of what is brought to birth - so we also, my child Stratocles, must bring your 
embryos into the midst and not rest easy, that they may be registered by many 
kinsfolk (ouyyevEi;) and brought on to the giving of the salutary laws, of 
which I have found you a partaker.’ 

Since Stratocles continued happily and was fortified by all his kinsfolk 
(ouyyEvag), and had obtained a steadfast soul and a firm and unswerving faith 
in the Lord, Maximilla and Iphidama rejoiced. And Alcmanes who had been 
healed no longer stood apart from the faith. Night ami day they were glad and 
fortified in Christ, and having grace Stratocles, Maximilla, Iphidama and 
Alcmanes, together with many other brethren, were counted worthy of the seal 
in the Lord. Andrew said to them: ‘If you guard this impression (Tunog), my 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

children, which does not admit of other seals that impress the opposite 
symbols, God will praise you and receive you to his own. When such a vision 
appears clearly in your souls, especially those that are released from their 
bodies, the punishing powers and evil authorities and fiery angels and wicked 
demons and filthy operations which cannot bear to be overtaken by you, since 
they do not belong to the symbol of the seal which is akin (oirf/evoOg) to light, 
[p. 337] creep away in flight and sink down into the darkness, fire and fog that 
is akin to them, and whatever meditates promise of punishment But if you 
sully the brightness of the grace that is given you, those terrible powers will 
dance in triumph around you and mock you, dancing in chorus this way and 
that For each will demand its own, just like a braggart ami a tyrant and there 
will be no benefit for you when you call upon the God of your seal, which you 
defiled when you fell away from him. Let us therefore, my children, guard the 
deposit that is entrusted to us, let us give it back without spot to him who 
entrusted it, and let us say to him when we come there: “Behold, we have 
brought your gift of grace unharmed to you. What of your own will you bestow 
on us?” Immediately he will answer us: “I will bestow on you myself; for all 
that I am I give also to my own. If you wish light, I am one whose eyes never 
close. If life that is not subjected to becoming, it is I; if rest from vain labours, 
you have me as your rest; if a friend offering things that are not earthly, I am 
your friend; if a father for those who intercede on earth, I am your father, if a 
true brother, separated from the brothers who are not true. I am your brother, 
and if there is anything more dear to you, which you desire and seek, you have 
me in all that is mine, and all that is mine in you”. This, my beloved, our Lord 
will answer to us.’ 

And when Andrew said this, some of the brethren wept, but the others 
rejoiced, but Stratocles especially, the newly converted, was lifted up to the 
height in his mind, so as to abandon all that was his and pledge himself to the 
Logos alone. So there was great rejoicing among the brethren night and day, 
as they came together to Maxim ilia in the praetorium. On the Lord’s day the 
proconsul arrived, while the brethren were gathered together in his bedroom 
and listening to Andrew. When it was reported to Maximilla that her husband 
had come, she was not a little troubled, expecting the outcome that many 
people would be caught in the room by him. But Andrew, seeing her at a loss, 
said to the Lord: ‘Lord Jesus, let not Aegeates come into this bedroom until 
your servants have gone out from here without fear, who have come together 
for your sake and for Maximilla, who ever graciously urges us to gather here. 
But since you have judged her worthy of your kingdom, let her be fortified the 
more, together with Stratocles, and quench the rush of the raging lion armed 
against us, saving us all. ’ And when the proconsul Aegeates came in, he was 
troubled by his belly, and sat for many an hour attending to himself. And since 
all the brethren went out, [p. 338] he saw nothing before him. For Andrew, 


The Acts of Andrew 

laying his hand on each one, said: ‘May Jesus hide what is visible of you from 
Aegeates, that what is unseen in you may be fortified against him.’ Last of all 
he went out himself, after sealing himself. 2 

Now when such a grace of the Lord had been accomplished, Stratocles went 
out, took his brother aside, and embraced him, and his other servants and 
freedmen likewise greeted him. But he (Aegeates) himself pressed on to go into 
the bedroom, thinking that Maximilla was still sleeping; for he loved her. But 
she was praying. When she saw him, she turned away and looked to tire ground. 
And he said to her. ‘Give me first your right hand to kiss, you whom I shall not 
address as wife but as my lady, being so greatly refreshed by your prudence and 
your love toward me.’ For the unhappy man thought when he caught her 
praying that she was praying for him. For as she prayed he was delighted to hear 
his own name. But what Maximilla said was this: ‘And deliver me now from 
the unclean union with Aegeates and keep me pure and chaste, saving you my 
God alone.’ But as he drew near to her mouth wishing to kiss it, she pushed 
him away, saying: ‘It is not right, Aegeates, for a man’s mouth to touch a 
woman’s mouth after prayer.’ And the proconsul, amazed at the sternness of 
her countenance, departed from her and stripping off his travelling clothes 
rested, and lying down slept after his long journey. 

Maximilla said to Iphidama: ‘Go, sister, to the blessed one, that he may 
come here while he (Aegeates) is asleep, and lay his hand on me and pray. ’ And 
she without delay went running to Andrew. When she had told him the request 
of that most faithful Maximilla, Andrew came and went into the other 
bedroom, where Maximilla was. And Stratocles, who had come with him from 
the blessed one’s lodging, went in along with the apostle. For when he had 
greeted his brother, he inquired about the lodging where the apostle of the Lord 
was living. And guided by a certain brother Antiphanes he went in to the 
blessed one. Laying his hand on Maximilla, Andrew prayed thus: ‘I pray you, 
my God, Lord Jesus Christ, who know what is to be, to you I commend my 
worthy child Maximilla. May your word (Xriyog) and power be strong in her, 
and may the spirit in her overcome even Aegeates, the insolent and hostile 
serpent, and may the soul in her remain pure, sanctified by your name; but 
especially protect her. Lord, from this foul corruption; put to sleep our wild and 
ever untamed enemy, her visible husband, and unite her with the inner man, 
whom especially you make known and for whose sake (p. 339] the whole 
mystery of your dispensation was accomplished. That thus possessing a firm 
faith in you she may grasp ter own hire kindred (avyyeveux) when she is 
separated from the pretended, who are actually enemies.’ And when he had 
prayed thus and committed Maximilla to the Lord, he went out again along 
with Stratocles. 

Maximilla now devised the following plan. She summoned ter maid¬ 
servant, Eucleia by name, very comely and by nature extremely undisciplined, 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

and said to her what pleased the girl herself and she desired: ‘ You will have me 
as benefactress for all that you ask, if you will consent with me and keep safe 
what I propose to you.’ And when she had told Eucleia what she wanted and 
been reassured by her, wishing for the future to lead a holy life, she had such 
comfort for a considerable time. For as it is customary for one woman to 
prepare requisites for another, she adorned Eucleia with such things and 
allowed her to sleep with Aegeates in her stead. And he used her as if she were 
his own wife, then let her rise and go to her own bedroom. For this was 
Maximilla’s custom. Thus refreshed ami rejoicing in the Lord, and not 
departing from Andrew, she escaped notice for a long time in what she had 

But when eight months had passed, Eucleia requested of her mistress to 
obtain her freedom. And on the same day she granted what she asked. Again 
after a few days she asked for not a little money, and she gave it to her without 
delay. Then again something of her adornments, and she did not refuse. And 
to put it briefly, garments, linen, necklaces, which she received each time from 
Maximilla, did not satisfy her, but she made the affair known to her fellow- 
slaves. boasting as it were and putting on airs. And they were vexed at Eucleia’s 
boasting, but at first kept their mouths shut, reviling her. But she, laughing, 
showed them the gifts given to her by her mistress. Angry at this, Eucleia’s 
fellow-slaves were at a loss what to do. But Eucleia, wishing to provide yet 
more proof of what she said, when her master was drunk set two of them at his 
head, that they might be persuaded that she really did lie with him as if she were 
Maximilla herself. For waking him when he was sunk in slumber she with her 
fellow-slaves who were observing the affair heard him say: ‘My lady 
Maximilla, why slowly?’ But she was silent. And those who stood by went 
quietly out of the bedroom. 

Maximilla, thinking that Eucleia was not gossipy but faithful because of the 
gifts she had given her, [p. 340] rested even in the nights beside Andrew, along 
with Stratocles and all the other brethren. Now Andrew had a dream, and said 
to the brethren in the hearing of Maximilla: Today something new is launched 
in the house of Aegeates, a contrivance of disturbance and full of wrath.’ 
Maximilla begged to learn what this might be. But he said: ‘Do not make haste 
to learn from me what you will shortly know.’ And she, having changed her 
clothes as her custom was, went out while all looked on, into the vestibule of 
the praetonum. Those of the household who had learned of the affair, and how 
every day she went away with Stratocles to Andrew, and at what time she went 
into her own bedroom, laid hold of her as a stranger when at that hour she came 
into the praetorium of the proconsul and endeavoured nottobe seen. And when 
on unveiling her they saw their own mistress, some of them wished to make 
the affair known and tell Aegeates, but others held fast, impelled by affection 
and dissimulation towards their mistress, shut the mouths of those with them. 


The Acts of Andrew 

and beating them as if they were madmen drove them thence. And while they 
were thus fighting with one another, Maximilla rushed into her bedroom, 
praying the Lord to turn away all evil from her. And after an hour those who 
had fought with their fellow-slaves on her behalf burst in on her, speaking 
flattering words to her and expecting to receive something, as if they were 
slaves of Aegeates; and the blessed woman did not refuse them what they 
demanded. Summoning Iphidama, she said: ‘Let us give to these what they 
deserve.* So she commanded that a thousand denarii be given to those who in 
pretence had professed to love her, and charged them to make the matter known 
to no <me. But they, even after many oaths to keep silent what they had seen, 
under the guidance of their father the devil immediately hastened to their own 
master, taking the money with them, and told him the whole story, and how 
their fellow-slave had informed them of the plan devised by Maximilla when 
she no longer wished to consort with Aegeates, rejecting union with him as 
some terrible and shameful deed. 

The proconsul took cognizance of everything, and how Eucleia had lain 
with him as if she were herself his wife, (and then) confessed to her fellow- 
slaves; when he questioned her also, he learned the whole charge, and under 
torture she confessed everything that she had received from her mistress to 
keep her silent. He was greatly enraged with her because she had boasted to her 
fellow-slaves and said these things, slandering her mistress [p. 341 ] (for being 
deeply in love with his wife he wished the matter had been kept secret). As for 
Eucleia, he cut out her tongue and cut off her hands and feet, ordering that she 
be cast out, and after remaining some days without nourishment she became 
food for the dogs. His other slaves who had spoken - there were three of them 
- he had crucified for all that they had said. He remained by himself and ate 
nothing at all that day because of his anguish, being at a loss on account of the 
great change in Maximilla from her previous disposition towards him. And 
after weeping much and reviling his gods, he went to his wife. Falling at her 
feet, he said with tears: ‘I touch your feet, a man who has lived with you as my 
wife for twelve years now. I have ever treated you as a goddess, and still do, 
because of your prudence and the rest of your character, which is honourable. 
Since you too are human, this admits the possibility of some change of mind 
for a short time. If then there is anything of the sort, which I could not imagine, 
a preference for some other man over me, I will forgive it, and myself keep it 
secret, just as you have often borne with me when I was out of my senses. Even 
if there is something worse than this that separates you from me, confess it and 
I will quickly heal it, knowing that in nothing at all can I gainsay you. ’ But she 
replied to him who entreated and besought at such length: ‘I love, Aegeates, 
I love. And what I love is nothing of the things of this world, so as to become 
manifest to you; and night and day it kindles and inflames me with love for 
itself, which you yourself could not see, for it isdifficult, nor could you separate 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

me from it, for that is impossible. Leave me then to consort with it, and to find 
my rest in it alone.’ 

The proconsul departed from her and was like a madman, he did not know 
what to do. For he did not dare to do to the blessed one anything that was not 
fitting, since she was of a much more distinguished family than he. And he said 
to Stralocles, who was walking with him: ‘Brother, my only genuine relative 
of all our dying race, I do not understand my wife, who has gone off her head 
or fallen into madness.' And as he began to say something else to his brother 
in his despair, one of the slaves who were with him said in his ear ‘Master, if 
you wish to learn of the matter, ask Stralocles, and he will give you rest. For 
he knows everything that concerns your wife. But if you wish to know the 
whole matter now, I will reveal it to you. ’ And drawing him aside privately he 
said: ‘There is a stranger come to stay, who has become notorious not only in 
this city but in all Achaea. He practises mighty works and healings beyond the 
power of men, as he himself (sc. Stralocles) will testify in part, having been 
present and seen dead men raised by him. [p. 342] In general, that you may 
know it, he professes piety, and truly he shows it even shining out openly. To 
this stranger, then, my lady has become known, with Iphidama leading the 
way, and she has gone to such a length in desire of him as to love no other at 
all more than him, that I speak not of yourself. Not only is she thus united with 
the man. but she has also ensnared your brother Stratocles with desire for him, 
by which he also is bound. They confess one god only, the one made known 
to them by him, and that there is no other at all on earth. But listen to the most 
senseless thing of all done by your brother. Being of such a family, bearing the 
name most glorious in Achaea of brother of Aegeates the proconsul, he 
brings an oil-flask into the gymnasium; he who has many slaves shows 
himself a servant, buying vegetables, bread and other necessities, and 
brings them, walking through the midst of the city, quite unashamed to be 
seen by all.’ 

And as the young man told this to his master as he walked, because for many 
an hour he looked upon the ground, he saw Andrew at a distance and crying 
out aloud said: ‘Master, behold the man by whom your house is now 
unsettled!’ And the whole crowd turned at his shout to see the cause. And 
without saying more that crafty one who was like him, as it were his brother, 
not his slave, left the proconsul and going at a run seized Andrew and brought 
him by force to Aegeates, wrapping about his neck the linen cloth which the 
blessed one wore. Seeing him, the proconsul recognised him and said: ‘You 
are the man who once healed my wife, on whom I wished to bestow much 
money, but you refused? What is this rumour about you? Instruct me too. Or 
this great power of yours, that so poor and mean to see, and already an old man, 
you have lovers rich and poor, and even infants, as I am told. ’ The whole crowd 
present was kindly disposed towards the apostle, and learning that the 


The Acts of Andrew 

proconsul was conversing with him ran up in longing where he was talking 
with him, at a loss as to the reason. And without delay Aegeates commanded 
him to be shut up, and said: ‘You comipter, for your good deeds to Maximilla 
these thanks arc returned by me.' And after a short interval he went in to 
Maximilla and found her along with Iphidama, eating bread with olives - for 
that was their custom at this hour- ami said to her ‘Maximilla, I have conveyed 
your teacher here and shut him up, ami am gathering information about him, 
for he will not escape me but perish in an evil way.’ And the blessed one 
answered him: ‘My teacher is not one of those who can be hanged. For he is 
not capable of being grasped by the senses or perceptible to sight. Since then 
you have become master of no-one of this kind, Aegeates, [p. 343] give up this 
boasting of yours.’ And he, smiling, went out, leaving ter eating. 

And Maximilla said to Iphidama: ‘Sister, we arc now eating, and he who 
after the Lord is our benefactor is imprisoned. Go in the name of the Lord, 
Iphidama, to the citadel, and find out where the prison is. I believe that when 
evening comes we shall be able to see the apostle of the Lord, and that not one 
will see me going off, save only Jesus and you who show me the way.’ And 
Iphidama, changing her accustomed clothing, set off faithfully. So having 
learned where the prison was and standing at the spot, she saw a great crowd 
standing in front of the gate of the prison and inquired about this assembling 
of the crowd, and someone answered her * Because of that most godly Andrew, 
shut up by Aegeates.’ 

And when she had stood there for an hour, the faithful Iphidama saw the 
gate of the prison opened, and taking courage said: ‘Jesus, go in with me to your 
servant, I beg of you. ’ And without being detected by anyone she went in, and 
found the apostle conversing with those who were imprisoned with him, whom 
he was already exhorting to faith in the Lord and confirming. And turning 
round he saw Iphidama, and uplifted in his soul he said to the Lord: ‘Glory to 
you, Jesus Christ, Lord of true words and promises, giving immortality to your 
fellow-servants, who alone arc what all require to overcome their adversaries. 
Behold, your Iphidama, whom I know kept safe together with ter mistress, has 
come here to us led by her desire for us. Gird her about with your protection 
now when she departs, and when she comes in the evening with ter mistress, 
that they may not be evident to any of the enemy ; few down to now, when I am 
(in such a condition), they are eager in some way to be bound along with me. 
Guard them. Lord, yourself, for they are both devoted and God-fearing.’ And 
having prayed over Iphidama Andrew let ter go, saying: ‘ The gate of the prison 
will be open before you reach it, and when you come in here (again) it will be 
opened and you will rejoice in the Lord, and again you will go away, that 
through this you may be confirmed in (faith in) our Lord.’ 

And immediately Iphidama went out, and found everything even as 
Andrew told her. And when she came to Maximilla she related to her the noble 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

soul and resolution of the blessed one, because even when imprisoned he was 
not at rest, but also encouraged those who were imprisoned with him, and that 
he was magnified in the power of the Lord; ami all the other things he said to 
her within she described to ter for both their sakes. Ami when Maximilla had 
heard all that Iphidama related to her, as from the apostle, [p. 344] she rejoiced 
in spirit and said: ‘Glory to you. Lord, that I am about to see your apostle again 
without fear. For not even a whole legion could prevail to keep me imprisoned, 
so as not to see your apostle. For it will be blinded by the radiant vision of the 
Lord and the confidence which his servant has in God. ’ And when she had said 
this, she waited for the lamps to be lit, that she might go forth. 

The proconsul said to some of those with him: ‘I know Maximilla’s 
boldness, because she is not concerned about me. Therefore let the gates of the 
praetorium not be guarded thus, but let four of you go to the prison and tell the 
jailer. “Let the door with which you are entrusted be secured, and sec that you 
do not open it to any influential person, whether you are moved by respect or 
by cajolery, not even if I myself should come, or you will have no head.’” And 
he commanded four others to take position round her bedroom and watch if she 
went out. 

So the fust four hastened to the prison and the rest, according to their orders, 
did sentry duty in front of the blessed one’s bedroom. But the accursed 
Aegeates turned to his dinner. Maximilla prayed to the Lord for many an hour 
along with Iphidama, and again said to the Lord: ‘It is now the hour. Lord, to 
go to your servant’ She went out of the bedroom with Iphidama, saying: ‘Be 
with us. Lord, from whom here you arc not separated’. And when she came to 
the gate of the prison she found a small comely boy standing, the gates being 
open, and he said to them: ‘Go in, both of you, to the apostle of our Lord, who 
has long been expecting you.’ And running forward he came to Andrew and 
said to him: ‘Look, Andrew, you have these who rejoice in your Lord; let them 
be fortified in him as you discourse. ’ And 5 when he had conversed with them 
for many hours, at last he sent them away, saying: ‘Go in peace. Know well 
that neither are you ever wholly forsaken of me, handmaids of the Lord through 
the love that is in him, nor again will I myself be forsaken of you through his 
mediation.’ And there was joy in them over some days, in which Aegeates had 
no thought to prosecute the charge against the apostle. So the whole multitude 
of the faithful was confirmed in hope in the Lord, all gathering together without 
fear in the prison, along with Maximilla ami Iphidama. 

When Aegeates was acting as judge one day, he remembered the affair 
concerning Andrew. And like one become mad he left the case which he had 
in hand, rose up from the tribunal, and went running [p. 345] into the 
praetorium, embracing and flattering Maximilla. Now Maximilla, coining 
from the prison, had entered the house before him; ami rushing in he said to 
her. ‘Your parents, Maximilla, counting me worthy of living with you, pledged 


The Acts of Andrew 

to me your marriage, looking neither to wealth nor to family nor to reputation, 
but perhaps to the prudent character of my soul. And not (to mention) many 
things which I wished to bring out to reproach you, the kindnesses which I 
experienced from your parents, the honours and services which you yourself 
have met with from me, being enrolled as my lady in all our life, this one thing 
only I have come to leant from you, abandoning the court of judgment and 
(now) standing before you. If you were the woman you were of old, living with 
me in the manner we know, sleeping with me, having intercourse, bearing my 
children, I would treat you well in every way, and yet more, I will set free the 
stranger whom I hold in the prison. But if you are not willing, to you indeed 
I would not do any harm, nor can I, but through him whom you love especially, 
more than me, I will torment you. Consider then, Maximilla, which of the two 
you wish, and answer me tomorrow. For this alone I am fully armed.’ And 
having said this he went out. 

Maximilla again at the usual hour went with Iphidama to Andrew, and 
laying his hands on her face and bringing them to her mouth she kissed them, 
and began to tell him the whole of Aegeates’ demand. And Andrew answered 
her ‘I know, my child Maximilla, that of yourself you are moved to resist the 
whole temptation of sexual intercourse, wishing to separate yourself from a 
loathsome and unclean life, and this for a long time has dominated my mind. 
But since you wish (me) to testify to my opinion, I will declare it. Maximilla, 
do not do this. Do not succumb to Aegeates' threat. Do not be afraid of his 
hostility and plots. Do not be overcome by his clever flatteries. Do not be 
willing to give yourself up to his filthy and evil sorceries, but endure all his 
toiturc, looking unto us for a short time, and you will see him altogether 
paralysed and wasting away both from you and from all who are akin 
(ouyyevoijg) to you. It is with confidence in you, Maximilla, that I say these 
things. For as Adam died in Eve, consenting to her intercourse, so I now live 
in you, who keep the commandment of the Lord and bring yourself over to the 
dignity of (your true) being. Withdraw from the threats of Aegeates, Maximilla, 
knowing that we have a God who has mercy on us, and do not let his empty 
talk move you, but remain pure; let him not only punish me with tortures but 
even cast me to the wild beasts and bum me with fire and hurl me over a cliff. 
What does it matter? This body is (but) one, to use it as he will, since it is akin 
to him. But to you again [p. 346] I speak, Maximilla Do not hire yourself out 
to Aegeates for his plots, and especially since I have seen the Lord saying: “The 
father of Aegeates, the devil, will release you through him, Andrew, from this 
prison.” Let it be yours henceforth to keep yourself chaste, pure, holy, 
undefiled, sincere, free from adultery, unwilling for intercourse with the alien, 
unbent, unbroken. For if you do not yield yourself to the opposite of these, I 
myself shall rest, being thus compelled to depart this life for your sake, that is 
for my own. But if I should be driven hence, perhaps I can benefit other kinsfolk 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

(ovvYEvag) of mine also. Be not therefore persuaded by the speeches of 
Aegeates and the flatteries of his father the serpent, so as to return to your 
former works. Know that I am about to be punished there for your sake, until 
you yourself recognise that it was not for a worthy soul that I spumed this 
earthly life.’ 

At this point Stratocles came in to Andrew, weeping and lamenting. So 
Andrew took Stratocles' hand and said: ‘I have what I sought, I have found 
what 1 desired, 1 hold fast him whom I loved, I rest on him whom I awaited. 
That you groan all the more and weep incessantly is to me a sign that I already 
have rest, because not in vain have I addressed words to your kinsfolk 
(ouYYeveJg).' And Stratocles answered him: ‘Do not think, most blessed 
Andrew, that there is anything else that troubles me, other than you. For the 
words that come forth from you are like fire as they pierce into me, and each 
of them touches me as if truly kindling and inflaming to love for you; the 
receptive part of myself that inclines to the things I hear is being punished, 
divining the distress that is after it. Y ou yourself are departing, and I know well 
that (you will do it) nobly; but when I seek your care and love hereafter, where 
or in whom am I to find it? The seeds of the saving words I have received, with 
you being for me the sower, but for them to sprout and grow up needs no other 
than you, most blessed Andrew. And what have I to say to you, servant of God, 
other than this? I need much mercy and help from you, that I may be able to 
become worthy of your seeds which I have, which I do not otherwise see 
growing unharmed and emerging into the open, except you wish it But pray 
for some of it, and all of me. ’ And Andrew answered: ‘This, my child, (is) what 
I myself saw in you, and now I congratulate myself, that my opinion 
concerning you was not in vain, but spoke what I knew. But that you may 
know: tomorrow Aegeates will hand me over to be crucified. For Maximilla, 
the handmaid of the Lord, [p. 347] will enrage the enemy in him, whose own 
he is, by not putting her hand to the works that are alien to her. And by turning 
on me he will think to console himself. ’ 

Maximilla was not present when the apostle said these words. For having 
heard the words which he directed to her, she was in a way impressed by them 
and became what the words themselves signified. She set off, not rashly or 
without set purpose, and came to the praetorium. She bade farewell to her 
whole life along with evil, mother of the flesh, and to the things of the flesh, 
and when Aegeates presented to her the same demand which he had previously 
made known to her, (asking) if she was willing to sleep with him, she refused; 
and thereafter he turned his mind to the killing of Andrew, and considered 
to what death he should expose him. And when crucifixion satisfied him 
most of all, he went off together with his friends and ate greedily like an 

And Maximilla, the Lord going before her in the form of Andrew, came 


The Acts of Andrew 

again with Iphidama to the prison. And a large crowd of the brethren being 
inside, she came upon him saying these words: ‘I, brethren, was sent by the 
Lord as an apostle into these regions, of which the Lord counted me worthy, 
not to teach anyone but to remind every man who is akin (auyYevfj) to these 
words, that all men live in transient evils, delighting in their harmful fantasies. 
But when the mystery of grace was kindled, and the bright ray of rest was made 
manifest, and the light of the Logos was shown forth, and the race that was 
being saved was proven, warring against its former pleasures, then the alien, 
seeing himself despised and his gifts, through which he thought to triumph 
over the goodness of him that has mercy, mark a laughing-stock, then he began 
to weave together hatred and enmity and uprisings against us; and this he set 
in operation, not to desist from us until we should dance according to what he 
thinks. Since then we know what is about to happen, brethren, let us awake 
from sleep and come to the point of freeing ourselves from him, neither 
reluctantly nor tossed by storms, nor carrying away in our souls any traces of 
him that are not our own, but all together lifted up in all the Logos let us all 
gladly await the end and our flight from him, that he hereafter may display what 
he is by nature, while we fly up to what is our own.' 

After 4 Andrew had spoken thus to the brethren the whole night through and 
prayed, and they were all rejoicing together and confirmed [p.348] in the Lord, 
on the next day at dawn Aegeates sent for Andrew from the prison and said to 
him: ‘The end of the judgment concerning you is at hand, you stranger, alien, 
enemy of my family and corrupter of my whole household. Why did you think 
fit to rush into alien places and secretly corrupt a woman who has long wholly 
pleased me and has never consorted with any other, as I have learned for sure 
from her? Now to you and to your god, farewell. Indeed, enjoy my gifts! ’ And 
he commanded him to be scourged with seven scourges. Later he sent him to 
be crucified, ordering his executioners to leave his sinews uncut in order, as he 
thought, that he might punish him yet more. And this was manifest to all, for 
it was given out and spread abroad through all Patras, that the stranger, the 
righteous one, the man filled with God, was being crucified by the godless 
Aegeates, although he had done nothing wrong. And they were one and all 

When the executioners brought him to the place and wished to carry out 
their orders, Stratocles, who had learned what was happening, came running 
and saw the blessed one being dragged along by force by the executioners, as 
if he had done something wicked. He did not spare them, but rained blows on 
each of them, ripped their tunics from top to bottom, and pulled away the 
blessed Andrew, saying to them: ‘ In this too give thanks to the blessed one who 
trained me, and taught me to restrain the violence of my anger, cm- I would have 
shown you what Stratocles can do and what the foul Aegeates. But we have 
learned to bear what befalls us.’ And taking the apostle’s hand he went away 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

to the place beside the sea where he was to be crucified. But the soldiers went 
and showed themselves to Aegeates, telling him what had happened. And he 
answered than: ‘Take other clothes and go to the place appointed and carry out 
your orders; and when the condemned man is disposed to take his departure 
from you, at that time obey. As for Stratocles, do not la him see you, so far as 
in you lies, but do not refuse him if he requires anything of you. For I know 
the nobility of his soul, such that perhaps he will not spare even me should he 
be provoked.’ And they did as Aegeates had told them. 

While Stratocles was walking with the apostle on the way to the appointed 
place, he was at a loss, being embittered against Aegeates and sometimes 
reviling him in a low voice. And Andrew answered him: ‘My child Stratocles, 
I wish you for the future to possess your mind unmoved and not to wait to be 
admonished by another, but receive such a thing from [p. 349] yourself, and 
neither let yourself be affected inwardly by what appears evil nor inflamed 
outwardly. For it is fitting that the servant of Jesus should be worthy of Jesus. 
But I will say something else to you and to the brethren who are walking with 
me, concerning the men who are alien to us. So long as the demonic nature does 
not have its blood-red nourishment, nor draws in the sustenance that comes 
from it, since animals are not slain, it is weak and cones to nothing, being 
wholly dead. But when it has what it desires, it becomes strong and expands 
and rises up. enlarged by the things it delights in. Such, my child, is what 
happens with the men outside, who die when we do not cleave to what they 
adhere to. But even in us ourselves the opposing man, when he ventures 
anything and does not find anyone who agrees with him, is struck and beaten 
and completely knocked to the ground, because he did not accomplish what he 
undertook. So, my children, we have this one before our eyes, lest while we 
sleep he come upon us as our adversary to slay us. But let this for now be 
the limit of our speaking. For indeed I think this is the place, to which we 
have come as we conversed; for to me the cross set up is a sign that shows 
the place.’ 

And leaving them all Andrew went up to the cross and said to it in a loud 
voice: ‘Hail, O cross, for indeed I know that you may truly rejoice, since now 
henceforth you rest, when for a long time you have been weary, set up and 
waiting for me. Wherefore, 0 cross, pure ami shining and full of life and light, 
receive me, the one greatly wearied.’ And having said this the most blessed 
one, standing on the ground and gazing steadfastly, went up on it, bidding the 
brethren that the executioners should come and do what they were ordered; for 
they were standing at a distance. And when they came they only bound his feet 
and his arm-pits, without nailing him; ami they did not cut either his hands or 
his feet or his sinews, having received this command from the proconsul. For 
he wished to torture him as he hung, and that in the night he should be eaten 
alive by dogs. And the brethren who stood round, whose number could not 


The Acts of Andrew 

easily be counted, they were so many, saw them going away and that they had 
not done in the case of the blessed one any of the things which those crucified 
(usually) suffer, but they were expecting to hear again something from him, 
for as he hung he moved his head, smiling. 

And Stratocles asked him: ‘Why do you smile, Andrew, servant of God? 
Your laughter makes us mourn and weep, because we are being deprived of 
you. ’ He answered him: ‘Should I not laugh, my child Stratocles, at the empty 
plot of Aegeates, by which he thinks to take vengeance on us? [p.350] Are you 
not yet persuaded that we are alien to him and to his plots? He has no sense of 
healing, for if he had he would have heard that Jesus is a man who cannot be 
punished. In the future it will be mack known to him. ’ When he had said this, 
Andrew addressed a word to all in common, for indeed the heathen were 
running together, indignant at Aegeates' unrighteous judgment: ‘You men 
who stand by me, and women and children, old men and slaves and freemen, 
and whoever else will hear, if you consider this the end of this transitory life, 
(namely) to die, then you are already released from this place. And if you take 
the coming together of the soul into the body for the soul itself, so that after the 
departure there is no longer anything, you have the thoughts of animals and 
must be counted among the wild beasts. And if you love the present delights 
and pursue after them with all your might, reaping only this of all, you are like 
robbers. And if you think you are this that is visible only, and that there is 
nothing else besides, you are slaves of ignorance and stupidity. And if your 
other possessions exalt you within your own selves, let their transitory 
character be a reproach to you. For what profit is it to you to have obtained the 
things without, but not yourselves? What is this exaltation of the soul that is 
in you which comes from external things, when the soul is sold captive to the 
desires? Or what is all the rest of your concern for things outside of you, when 
you thus neglect what you yourselves are? But turn away, I beg you all, from 
this troublesome life, vain, insane, presumptuous, transitory, and strive to 
lay hold of my soul as it reaches out to what is above time, above law, above 
word, and you shall obtain whatever you wish. For such is set within your 

And the crowds, hearing the things said by Andrew and in a way taken by 
them, did not depart from the spot And the most blessed one went on to say 
to them yet more than he had said. And it was so much that, as there are those 
who heard to testify, he discoursed to them for three days and nights, and no 
one at all grew weary ami departed from him, since cm the following day also 
they beheld his nobility, the unswerving character of his mind, the abundance 
of words, the usefulness of his admonition, the composure of his soul, the 
wisdom of his spirit, the steadfastness of his mind, the sincerity of his 
reflections. Indignant at Aegeates, they hastened one and all to the tribunal. 
And as he sat down they shouted out: ‘What is your judgment, proconsul? You 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

have condemned wrongly, you have judged unjustly, your tribunals are 
unholy! What wrong has the man done? What crime has he committed? The 
city is in tumult, you wrong us all. Do not [p. 351] betray Caesar’s city! Grant 
the Achaeans a righteous man, grant to us a man inspired of God! Do not kill 
a holy man, do not destroy a pious man. Four days he has hung, and eaten 
nothing, but he has fed us to the full with his words. Take the man down, and 
we shall all become philosophers! Set the wise man free, and all Patras will be 
righteous. Release this man of understanding, and Achaea will again find 

When Aegeates did not listen, at first signing with his hand to the crowd 
to depart from the tribunal, they were full of rage and ventured to take action 
against him; they were about two thousand in number. When the proconsul 
saw that they had in a way gone mad, he was afraid that 1 m might suffer a riot, 
and rising from the tribunal he went with them, promising to set the blessed 
one free. Some ran ahead and told the apostle, and related the reason why they 
had come to the place. The crowd then rejoiced because the blessed one was 
about to be released when the proconsul arrived, and all the brethren together 
with Maximilla were rejoicing; but when Andrew heard he said: ‘O the great 
dullness of those instructed by me! O the cloud that overshadows you after 
many mysteries! O how much have we spoken to you even till now, and (yet) 
have not persuaded our own! What is this great love towards the flesh, or this 
ample intercourse with it? Do you urge me to surrender myself again to what 
is transient? If you knew that I was freed from fetters but bound to myself, you 
would yourselves have been eager to be freed from the many but bound to the 
one. But since Aegeates comes to me, I will say what I must say to him to take 
my leave. For what reason (do you come) again to us, Aegeates? For what cause 
does he that is alien to us approach us? What do you wish to venture again, what 
to contrive, what to say? Do you come to release us, as having repented? But 
you have not truly repented, Aegeates. I will not come to terms with you; not 
even if you promised me all that is yours will I depart from myself, new should 
you take thought for yourself will I trust myself to you.' 

When he heard this the proconsul stood amazed, as it were out of his mind. 
And looking at him again Andrew said: ‘O dreadful Aegeates, enemy of us all, 
why do you stand calm and quiet when you can do nothing of what you 
venture? I and those who are akin (cnryYEvt)) to me press on to what is ours, 
leaving you to be what you are, even though you yourself do not know about 
yourself. ’ And when he again ventured to draw near to the cross to set Andrew 
free, the whole city clamouring at him, the apostle Andrew said in a loud voice: 
’Lord, do not suffer Andrew who is bound upon your cross to be released 
again. Let not your adversary release the one who hangs upon your grace. 
Father, but take me yourself, Christ, whom I desired, whom I loved. 
Receive me, that through my departure (£^ 0605 ) there may be an entry to 


The Acts of Andrew 

you for my many kinsfolk (ovyYEVEig), who rest upon your [p. 352] 
majesty. ’ And when he had said this and glorified the Lord, the blessed one 
gave up his spirit. 

While we were weeping and were all sorrowful over his passing, after the 
departure of the blessed apostle, Maximilla without any thought at all of those 
who were standing by came and unbound the corpse of the blessed one and 
buried it, giving it the necessary attention. And she was separated from 
Aegeates because of his savage nature and lawless way of life, and did not 
approach him at all in the future, although 1 m made hypocritical offers to her, 
she chose a holy and quiet life, and supplied with the blessed love of Christ 
spent it along with the brethren. Aegeates strongly urged her, promising that 
she would be mistress of all that was his, but was unable to persuade her. One 
night he arose, without any of his household knowing it, and threw himself 
from a great height and died. Stratocles, Aegeates’ brother after the flesh, was 
unwilling to touch any of the property left by him (for the unhappy man died 
childless) saying: ‘May what is yours, Aegeates, go with you; but may 
Jesus be my friend, and I his. Casting from me the great multitude of evils 
without and within, and laying before him what is mine, I reject all that is 

Here now I would make an end to these blessed narratives and deeds and 
mysteries hard to tell, that I may not say also too wonderful for words. And I 
pray first for myself, to tear what was said as it was spoken, and then with all 
who are impressed by the things said let us send up a common hymn of praise 
to God, the lover of mankind, with his only-begotten Son and the all-holy and 
life-giving Spirit, now and for ever and to all eternity. Amen. 


Martyrdom of the holy and glorious 
first-called Andrew the Apostle 

* On this text see Prieur, above p. 105. We cannot offer a detailed comparison of JS with 
the other witnesses, since this would exceed the limits of the present work. Reference may 
be made to Prieur’s edition of the AA in CChrSa. A few references only are intended to draw 
attention to the parallel passages. (The German translation was made by Gregor Ahn. The 
English version has been modified at a few points in the light of Prieur’s edition, but 
differences remain). 

1. The beginning of JS (to this point) is summarised by Gregory of Tours in c. 34. 

2. On this section cf. Gregory of Tours, c. 35. 

3. From here on the text of Cod. Vat. 808 (see above, pp. 128ff.) should be compared. 

4. For the following, Ann Arbor 36, the Martyriurn altemm A and B, the Armenian version 
and to some extent the Letter of the Deacons of Achaea form the parallel tradition (cf. Prieur, 
above pp. 109f.). 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

2. The Acts of John 

Knot Schaferdiek 


1. Literature: Standard edition (hereafter adduced as 'Junod/Kaestli'): Acta Johannis. 1. 
Praefatio, textus. 2. Textus alii, commentahus, indices, curi Eric Junod et Jean-Daniel 
Kaestli (Corpus Christianorum, series apocryphorum 1 »2). Tumhout 1983. with detailed 
commentary. On the ancient versions see below, pp. 159ff. From the literature the 
following may be mentioned: Eric Junod/Jean-Dantel Kaestli, 'Les traits caractdristiques de 
la thdologie des Actes de Jean’, Revue de Thiologie et de Philosophie 26,1976,125-143; 
id., L’histoire des Actes apocryphes des Apdtres du IIP au IX * siicle: le cas des Actes de Jean 
(Cahiers de la Revue de Thdoiogie et de Philosophie 7), Geneva/Lausanne/ Neuchltel 1982; 
id.. ‘Le dossier des Actes de Jean, fetal de la question ct perspectives nouvelles’, ANRWII 
25.6,1988.4293-4362; Knut Schaferdiek. ‘ Herkunft und I nteresse der al ten Johannesakten ’, 
ZNW 74. 1983,247-267; David R. Cartlidge, ’Transfigurations of Metamorphosis Tradi¬ 
tions in the Acts of John, Thomas and Peter', Semeia 38.1986,53-66; Arthur J. Dewey, ‘The 
Hymn in the Acts of John. Dance as Hermeneutic', Semeia 38, 1986,67-80 and on this J.- 
D. Kaestli. ib. 81-88; Gerlinde Sirker-Wicklaus, Untersuchungen zur Stmktur. zur 
theologischen Tendenz und zum kirchengeschichtlichen Hintergrund der Acu Johannis’ 
(Ev.-theol. Diss. Bonn 1988). For further literature reference may be made to the detailed 
bibliography in the Junod/Kaestli edition, pp. x-xix. Modem Translations: German-. Georg 
Schimmelpfeng in NTApo 1 ,423-459 (in NTApo 1 . 175-191 only a selection edited by E. 
Hennecke, with summaries of contents for the sections omitted); selections in Wilhelm 
Mtchaelis. Die Apokryphen zum Neuen Testament ubersetzt und erUuiert (Sammlung 
Dieterich 129). Bremen 1956; J 1963. 222-268. English: James, 228-270. French: Andrf- 
Jean Festugifcre, Les Actes apocryphes de Jean et de Thomas (Cahiers d'Oriental is me VI), 
Geneva 1983, 9-37; Junod/Kaestli in their edition, 160-314. Italian: Erbetta II, 29-67; 
Moraldi II. 1131-1151. 

2. Attestation and use:' It is not possible to demonstrate any use of the Acts of 
John in the Christian literature of the 2nd and early 3rd centuries. In two of the four 
extant versions of the Apocryphon of John, 1 already in some form known to Irenaeus 
(c. 180), there is an evidently secondary introduction which recalls the description 
of the situation at the beginning of the revelation of the mystery of the Cross (AJ 97). 5 
The differences are however too great for there to be any question of dependence of 
the Apocryphon on the Acts of John. Evidently we have here an independent use of 
the motif of John as an outstanding mediator of revelation and of the mount (of 
Olives) as a place for the giving of secret revelations. 4 In older research a reference 
in Cement of Alexandria (c. 200) to ‘traditions’ was often adduced as the alleged 
earliest witness for the Acts of John; according to this John when he touched the 
‘outward body’ of Jesus could put his hand right through it. 3 This corresponds to 
John’s statement in the Acts that when he touched Jesus’ body it was sometimes solid 
and material, but sometimes appeared as if without substance (AJ 93). Despite the 
agreement in content, the differences in formulation are so great 6 that we cannot 
understand Clement’s remark as a reference to the Acts of John. Here too we have 
to do rather with independent variations cm a traditional motif which described John 
as the guarantor of the tangible reality of Christ’s revelation, such as we find also in 


The Acts of John 

1 Jn. 1:1, 7 On the basis of some contacts in form and content with the Acts ofThomas, 
E. Junod and J.D. Kaestli thought that they could reckon with literary dependence 
of the latter on the Acts of John.' It is much more likely to be a matter of indications 
of a related milieu and traditional background. 9 Finally a passage in the Pseudo- 
Cyprianic de Montibus Sina et Sion, which originated in Africa before 240, was often 
claimed in the older literature for the Acts of John. There it is said, in the context of 
a speculation on Wisd. 7:26: ‘For we too, who believe in him, see Christ in us as in 
a mirror, for he himself instructs and reminds us in a letter of his disciple John to the 
people: “You see me in yourselves as one of you sees himself in water or in a 
mirror.” M0 It is however quite arbitrary to ascribe this citation from an ostensible 
letterof John, or the letter itself, to the Acts of John, and also an alleged reminiscence 
of a line in the hymn in the Acts (AJ 95.45f.) actually does not exist, since the two 
texts employ the image of the mirror in different ways and in a different context. 

Since Origen also cannot be claimed as a witness for the Acts of John, 11 their use 
by the Manichean Psalm-book, which probably goes back to the last third of the 3rd 
century, must rank as the earliest trace. 12 It points to dissemination in the Syrian 
region and the Syriac language. At the turn from the 4th to the 5th century, the Syriac 
Liber Graduum possibly offers an allusion to this tradition with its remark that it was 
written of John that he died a natural death, 13 in which we may probably see a 
reference to the report in these Acts of the apostle's departure (Metastasis), which 
however was also transmitted independently of the Acts themselves. A further trace 
in the Syrian area first appears again in Gregory Barhebraeus (1225/6-1286), who 
however is drawing on a substantially older heresiological source. In his description 
of the Audian sect he ascribes to them the idea that ‘the body of our Lord was 
heavenly, and that he was struck with the lance and (yet) not struck, and hanged on 
the tree and (yet) not hanged’. 14 Here two of the antitheses in AJ 101 are clearly taken 
up, in each case simply expanded by the insertion of an adverbial phrase and 
transposed from the first person of the revealer into the third person of indirect 
speech. 15 

In the Greek-speaking area the attestation of the Acts of John begins in the 4th 
century with their mention by Eusebius, who names them with the Acts of Andrew 
‘and the other apostles ’ as examples of apocryphal Acts. “ According to the Panarion 
of Epiphanius, written in 375/7, the Encratites used ‘the so-called Acts of Andrew, 
of John and of Thomas', 17 and Epiphanius himself possibly once refers to the 
Metastasis in the Acts of John." Amphilochius of Iconium (d. after 394) discussed 
the content of the Acts of John in a lost work. In a fragment of it preserved in the Acts 
of the Nicene Council of 787 there are the words: ‘This would not have been said by 
the apostle John, who wrote in the Gospel that the Lord spoke from the Cross saying, 
“Behold, thy son" (Jn. 19:26), so that from that day St John took Mary to himself. 
How then does he say here that he was not present?’ 19 He here refers to AJ 97, a 
reference which is confirmed by the fact that his words were quoted during a 
discussion in the Council about the Acts of John, in the course of which, inter alia, 
this chapter had been read shortly before. Didymus the Blind (d. 398) refers his 
readers to the Acts of John for the names of those converted by John. 30 That Pseudo- 
Macarius (c. 400) once uses the description of Christ as ‘the doctor who heals for 
nothing’, which otherwise occurs only in the Acts of John, is still no evidence for 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

direct knowledge. 21 On the other hand the author of the Acts of Philip, whose 
homeland is in encratite and monastic circles in Asia Minor in the 4th century, harks 
back in a fragment as yet unpublished, preserved in the Alhos manuscript Xenophontos 
32, to the hymn in AJ 94-96.“ The Passio Johannis under the name of a bishop Melito 
of Laodicea, 23 handed down in Latin but presumably originally Greek, which 
scarcely came into being before the middle of the 5th century, has taken up several 
narratives from the Acts of John in a considerably revised form: the story of Drusiana 
and Callimachus (AJ 62-86), of which only the name of Drusiana and her raising up 
by John have remained in the revision, the story of the destruction of the temple of 
Artemis (AJ 37-45), and the Metastasis (AJ 106-115), which here has been 
substantially abridged and transformed into a cultic legend for the alleged tomb of 
the apostle in the basilica of John at Ephesus. 24 In a foreword the Passio sets itself 
apart from heretical apostolic Acts. Together with the Acts of John it mentions the 
Acts of Andrew and of Thomas, all three of which Leucius is said to have composed 
and which are reproached for a consistent dualism. 21 It is uncertain whether these 
statements derive from the author’s own direct knowledge of these Acts. Also the 
narrative sections taken up from the Acts of John need not in any case have been 
drawn directly from the Acts themselves. They could just as well have come to the 
redactor as isolated pieces of tradition, already separated from their context, hence 
from a kind of tradition through which practically the whole of the remains of the 
Acts of John still extant today has been transmitted. 

In the Latin area the attestation of the Acts of John begins only with the close of 
the 4th century. In Phi las ter of Brescia and Faustus of Milevis they appear as part of 
the Manichean corpus of apocryphal Acts. 2 * Augustine certainly knows of them from 
the same source. He once expressly names them 27 and another time reports the 
Metastasis from ’apocryphal writings’, 2 * while in his letter to Ceretius he adduces 
some lines from the hymn in AJ 94-96, evidently only from a Priscillianist work sent 
to him by his correspondent, as deriving from apocryphal writings but without 
directly mentioning the Acts of John. 2 * There is probably an allusion to them in bishop 
Evodius of Uzala in proconsular Africa,* who was friendly with Augustine. On the 
other side a recast form of the Metastasis in a Latin version appears to have been in 
circulation independently about the turn of the 5th century: for Chromatius of 
Aquileia summarises a modified form of tire Metastasis story of John'send according 
to a ‘writing which reports of his death’. 31 

The use of the Acts of John by the so-called Monarchian prologue to John 
probably leads to Spanish Priscillianist circles about 400, 32 and the Epistle of Pseudo- 
Titus, which also exploited them, 33 points if not to tire same milieu at least to its close 
geographical and spiritual neighbourhood, while Turribius of Astorga about the 
middle of the 5th century speaks again of their use among the Manicheans and 
Priscillianists in his field of operation. 34 At the beginning of the 5th century the Acts 
of John had evidently also made their appearance in Aquitama; for Innocent I names 
them in his letter to Exsuperius of Toulouse of 20 February 405, which gives 
judgment in response to his correspondent's inquiries in a list of writings to be 
rejected. 33 The Pseudo-Gelasian Decree from the beginning of the 6th century does 
not adduce them by name, but they should possibly be inducted under the rubric ‘all 
the books which Leucius, the disciple of the devil, has made’, 3 * so far as the author 


The Acts of John 

had any concrete ideas at all about these books. But in the Latin area at this period 
it was probably only isolated pieces of the Acts of John that were transmitted, which 
then occasionally found their way into hagiographic descriptions of John, as in the 
Virtutes Johannis? which probably came into being in the late 6th century in Gaul; 
these however did not stand alone, as the appearance of material from the Acts of John 
in an Irish text of the 14th century* allows us to recognise. 

While the chain of the western witnesses breaks off in the 5th century, there are 
still some later attestations in the east. It is questionable whether we can already count 
Ephraim of Antioch (Patriarch 527-545) among them. In a fragment preserved by 
Photius he reproduces briefly the content of the Metastasis, in a form which 
corresponds to the secondary developed text-form designated as y by Junod/Kaestli, 
and names as his source ‘the Acts of the beloved John and the Vita, which not a few 
bring forward’.” That the ancient Acts of John are meant is nevertheless doubtful; 
for recension y of the Metastasis was combined in the tradition with another text, 
independent of the ancient Acts, the * Acts of John in Rome’. 40 The ‘travels of John’ 
are at least mentioned, although probably not on the basis of his own direct 
knowledge, in John of Thessalonica (d. c. 630). 41 The most important evidence of all 
is provided by the Nicene Council of 787, already mentioned. Its fifth session dealt, 
among other matters, with the Acts of John, to which the Iconoclastic Council of 754 
had appealed. Here AJ 27 and the first half of AJ 28 were read out ‘from the 
pseudepigraphical Travels of the Holy Apostles' as a document hostile to images, 
together with a large part of AJ 93-98 as a general indication of the book’s heretical 
character. 42 The so-called Stichometry of Nicephorus, a canon catalogue of uncertain 
age attached to a version of the Chronography handed down under the name of 
Nicephorus of Constantinople (9th cent.), assigns 2500lines to the Acts of John (other 
readings 2600,3600), the same as for the Gospel of Matthew. 41 Finally Photius in his 
Bibliotheca, the date of which is in dispute (towards 855 or after 873), gives an 
analysis of the whole Manichean corpus of Acts, which in substance appears to rely 
primarily on the Acts of John. 44 

The general picture resulting from this attestation may be briefly outlined as 
follows: the Acts of John first come into view in the last third of the 3rd century as 
pan of the Manichean corpus of apocryphal Acts. Known to the earliest Church 
authorities only as a sectarian work, they may have belonged to the tradition of 
Christian splinter groups, probably in Syria and Asia Minor, from which they must 
have passed to the Manicheans. In the West, where they became known in the 4th 
century through the Manichean corpus and seem to have met with approval primarily 
among the Priscillianists and other representatives of rigorous asceticism, especially 
in Spain, Aquitania and South Gaul, all trace is lost in the 5th century. In the East 
on the other hand, where the continuous attestation already breaks off in the 4th 
century, they appear once again in the 8th and 9th centuries. This should not be 
evaluated without more ado as an indication of an interest in the transmission of this 
document which continued right down to this period; all that it really attests is simply 
that zealous collectors among antiq uarians and librarians of the time might occasion¬ 
ally come across an exemplar of the ancient Acts on library shelves. This applies not 
only to the notice in Photius, but also to the use of the Acts of John by the Iconoclasts, 
which alone brought this document into the range of vision of the second Nicene 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Council. The iconoclastic proof from tradition at the time of the council of Hiereia 
in 754 was faced with the demand that it should be substantiated by witnesses to the 
tradition fixed in writing, 45 and thus they were positively directed toward the 
antiquarian lore of the librarians. That it could still be found, however, may perhaps 
allow us to deduce a certain widespread dissemination of the ancient Acts, or more 
exactly the ancient corpus of Acts, in earlier centuries. For the rest, at the period of 
the iconoclastic controversy the handing-on of materials from the Acts of John must 
long have been limited, in the East as in the West, to those passages which had found 
entry into the hagiographic tradition. 46 In this medium of transmission the passage 
hostile to images (AJ 26-29) for a long time held its ground; it was still being copied 
in the 14th century. 41 Even the completely unorthodox * preaching of the Gospel ’ (AJ 
87-105) was now and then transmitted at a late date as an isolated piece in some 
marginal area - perhaps just because it was a marginal area - in the Byzantine Church; 
at any rate the scribe who in 1319 in the Crimea incorporated it in a hagiographic 
collection 4 * gives us no reason to suppose that in so doing he was drawing directly 
on the Acts of John. 

3. Contents of the tradition: At its fifth session the Nicene Council of 787 
pronounced on the Acts of John: 1 No one is to copy (this book): not only so, but we 
consider that it deserves to be consigned to the fire'. 46 In the West, 340 years earlier, 
Leo the Great had given a similar verdict on the entire compass of the apocryphal 
literature concerning the apostles which was used by the Priscillianists: ‘The 
apocryphal writings, however, which under the names of the apostles contain a 
hotbed of manifold perversity, should not only be forbidden but altogether removed 
and burnt with fire’. 50 These judgments sufficiently explain why the Acts of John 
have survived only in fragmentary form. According to the statement of the 
Stichometry of Nicephorus, which assigns to the Acts of John the same compass as 
to the Gospel of Matthew, the extant fragments amount to some 70% of the whole 
work. We must however view this statement with some reserve. For deductions as 
to narrative complexes no longer extant, which are possible on the basis of the 
remains handed down, arouse the impression that more than just a bare third of the 
original text has been lost. 

3.1. The Greek text: The extant stock of Greek text is almost without exception 
handed down in hagiographical collections of various types intended for liturgical 
use, and may be divided into four strands of tradition. 1. The largest of these includes 
AJ 18-36; 37-55; 58-86 and 106-115. It is transmitted as an expansion of a recension 
of the later Acts of John of ps.-Prochorus. 2. A second fragment, AJ 56f., is 
transmitted along with the beginning of these Acts of ps.-Prochorus; 51 it also appears 
in the Armenian translation of the Acts of ps -Prochorus. 52 3. The most widely 
disseminated complex is AJ 106-115, the so-called Metastasis of the Acts of John. 
It is preserved not only as part of the first complex mentioned above but also as an 
independent piece, as well as in connection with forms of the ps-Prochorus Acts and 
with the ‘Acts of John in Rome’. This branching tradition of the Metastasis led to the 
formation of three distinguishable forms of text, which in the Junod/Kaestli edition 
(317-343) are reproduced separately by way of appendix, as first steps in the 


The Acts of John 

reconstruction of the text In addition this section is also extant in a series of ancient 
versions . 53 4. The most interesting section from the point of view of the history of 
religion and theology, but also the most scandalous for Church orthodoxy, ‘John’s 
preaching of the Gospel’ (AJ 87-105), was incorporated as late as 1319 into a 
hagiographical collection, as an independent text, under the rubric 'Wonderful report 
of the deeds and of the vision which the holy John the theologian beheld’, by a scribe 
who was a cleric in the eparchy of Gothia in the Crimea . 54 For some sections of the 
stock of text thus preserved, namely AJ 27 and part of AJ 28. AJ 93 and part of AJ 
94, as well as AJ 97 and part of AJ 98, there is also the parallel tradition of their 
quotation in the Acts of the second Nicene Council . 51 

In addition to these unbroken complexes of text, two episodes which may be 
assigned to the Acts of John are preserved in the Greek Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 850; 54 
they are also extant in a revised form in an Irish translation from the Latin 57 (the 
translation of the Greek does not take into account some of the far-reaching attempts 
at restoration by Junod and Kaestli): 


... f>oi him < ... 

... > groans and < ... 

... > but John < ... 

... to Zeux>is, having arisen and taken ..<... 

5 ... > who didst compel me .. < ... 

... > (him) who thought to hang himself; who the desper<ate 
... > dost convert to thyself; who what to no one is kmxwn 
... > dost make known; who weepest for the oppre<ssed 
...>.. who raisest up the dead ..<... 

10 ... > of the powerless, Jesus, the comforter <of the ... 

... > we praise thee and worship thee an<d give 

than>ks for all thy gifts and thy present dispensation 
and> service. And (after he) to Zeuxis alone of the eucharcist 
... > he gave to those who wished to receive < ... 

15 ...>... they did not dare. But tire proconsul < . . . 

...>.. in the midst of the congregation to <John 
...>.. (and) s<ai>d: Servant of the Unnameable . <... 

...>.. has brought letters from Caes<ar . . . 

...>.. and with <... 


20 he went > forth (7). 

... A>ndronicus and ..<... 51 
When a few <days> had passed ..<... 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

... > several brethren to < ... 

cross> over a bridge, under which a <great> river flowed. 

25 And as> John went to the brethre<n 

a <man> came to him <gar>bed in soldier’s clothing 
and standing before him said: John, if < ... 
into my> hands thou wilt shortly come. And John 
said: T>he Lord shall quench thy threatening and thine anger a<nd thy 
30 transgression! And behold, that man disappeared. So when John c<ame>to 
them whom he was visiting and fou<nd them> gathered together, he said: 
Ri<se up>, m<y brethren>, and let us bow our knees before the Lord, 
who the gre<at enemy's un>seen activity has brought to noth<ing 
35 .. th>em, he bowed the knee together with th<em ... 

God ...<... 

The sequence of verso and recto corresponds to the order of the two episodes in 
the Irish redaction,” and takes account of the fact that the end of the Zeuxis incident 
on the verso must have been preceded by a longer narrative than could have been 
accommodated in the few lines missing between the end of the recto and the 
beginning of the verso if the order were reversed. The name of Andronicus. which 
belongs to the dramatis personae of the Acts (AJ 31,105,37,46,59,61 -63,65f., 70, 
72-74, 76, 79, 80, 82f., 86). already tells in favour of the view that these episodes 
belong to the Acts of John. This is further confirmed by Junod/Kaestli (127f.), who 
have shown a whole series of linguistic and factual common elements. At the same 
time however they point (128f.) to signs that in the fragment we have to do with a 
redacted form of the text over against the original form of the Acts of John. Among 
these are in the first place the use of the term ‘congregation’ (£xxXr]oia) and the 
expression ‘to bow the knee' for ‘to pray'. We therefore cannot without further ado 
start out from the position that in the original context of the ancient Acts the two 
episodes followed directly one after the other. On the other side the interpolation of 
another passage from the ancient Acts of John between the two in the Irish story of 
John does not necessarily prove the opposite, since it could equally be secondary. In 
these circumstances it will scarcely be possible to locate the fragment with any 
confidence in one of the lacunae which can be deduced from the text transmitted. 
Junod/Kaestli (91 f.) suggest for consideration its insertion in the gap between AJ 105 
and 37. 

The Greek material thus handed down represents the oldest transmitted linguistic 
form of the Acts of John, but not beyond question their original form. Their use by 
the early Manichean community suggests the conjecture that there could have been 
an ancient Syriac version of the document. In addition, we shall also have to ask 
whether they, or at least parts of the material incorporated in them, were not originally 
written in Syriac. Indications of this are provided by AJ 97, with its evident use of 
a Syriac name for a day of the week,* 0 and by the almost verbatim quotation from 
AJ 101 in Gregory Barhebraeus, behind the Syriac wording of which time possibly 
stands a Syriac version of the text which is more original than the Greek version which 
has come down to us.“ The transmitted Syriac version of the Metastasis cannot 


The Acts of John 

however be considered as the remains of such a Syriac form of the text, for it shows 
signs of translation from the Greek.* 2 In view of the rich and widely branching 
separate transmission which this section of the text enjoyed, it cannot by any means 
rank without more ado as representative for the Acts of John as a whole. 

The Armenian version of AJ 56falready mentioned, is also a transfer of a piece 
of Greek hagiographical tradition without evidential value for the transmission 
history of the ancient Acts. Finally the text which occurs in the Old Slavonic tradition, 
designated as depictore by Aurelio de Santos Otero and erroneously compared with 
AJ 26-29,** has nothing to to with the ancient Acts of John. 

XL The ancient versions: 3*2.1. The Latin version: The anestation shows that 
there was a Latin version of the Acts of John, which was in any case in existence in 
the late 4th century.* 5 The lines from the Hymn of Christ quoted by Augustine from 
a Priscillianist work certainly derive from it.** In addition the apocryphal Epistle of 
Titus may be regarded as an indirect witness for it. Among its numerous borrowings 
from apocryphal writings there are three passages which must rank as free and in part 
also recast quotations from the Acts of John:* 7 

Hearken to the thanksgiving of John, the disciple of the Lord, how in the 
prayer at his passing he said: ‘Lord, who hast kept me from my infancy until 
this time untouched by woman, who hast separated my body from them, so that 
it was offensive to me (even) to see a woman. ’ 

(Introduction: 11. 436f.; citation: 11.437-440). 

Or is it outside the Law, what we teach, as even the demons when they 
confessed to the deacon Dyrus (= Verus? - see AJ 30; 61; 111) (in regard) to 
John's coming - consider what they said: ‘Many will come to us in the last 
times to drive us out of our vesse Is [ sc. the demoniacs ], saying that they are pure 
and undefiled by women, and not possessed by desire for them. If we wished, 
we would gain possession of them also.’ 

(Introduction : 11. 444 -4 4 6; citation; 11. 446-449) 

Take also to heart the warnings of the blessed John, who when he was called 
to a marriage went there only for the sake of chastity. And what did he say? 
‘Children, while your flesh is still clean and you have a body that is untouched, 
and you are not caught in corruption nor soiled by Satan, that most adverse and 
shame<less> (enemy) to chastity, know now more fully the mystery of 
conjugal union: it is a device of the serpent, a disregard of the teaching, an 
injury to the seed, a gift of death, a work of destruction, a teaching of division, 
a work of corruption, a boorish rusticity <...>, a second sowing of the enemy, 
an ambush of Satan, a device of the jealous one, an unclean fruit of parturition, 
a shedding of blood, a passion in the mind, a falling from reason, a token of 
punishment, an instruction of pain, an operation of fire, a sign of the enemy, 
the deadly malice of envy, the embrace of deceit, a union with bitterness, a 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

morbid humour of the mind, an invention of ruin, the desire of a phantom, a 
converse with matter, a comedy of the devil, hatred of life, a fetter of darkness, 
an intoxication <...>, a derision of the enemy, a hindrance of life, that 
separates from the Lord, the beginning of disobedience, the end and death of 
life. Hearing this, my children, bind yourselves each one of you in an 
indivisible, true and holy matrimony, waiting for the one incomparable and 
true bridegroom from heaven, even Christ, who is a bridegroom for ever.’ 
(Introduction: 11.458-460; citation: 11. 460-477). 

The first of these passages is a shortened paraphrase of the beginning of AJ 113 
from John’s valedictory prayer. For the other two an ongin in the Acts of John cannot 
be assumed with the same certainty. It is however probable.** The name of the deacon 
Dyrus who appears in the second passage must be a corruption of Verus, the name 
borne by the ‘deacon’ who attends the apostle in the Acts of John. The rejection of 
marriage expressed in the third passage is a feature which Photius noted for the corpus 
of apostolic Acts which he examined, and evidently for the Acts of John in 
particular.** On the other hand the eschatological motif which is sounded in these two 
passages is alien to the ancient Acts of John. It may be regarded as a sign of adaptation 
by the author of the Letter of Pseudo-Tims. 

Two passages of the Acts of John are directly transmitted in a Latin translation, 
the story of Drusiana and Callimachus (AJ 63-86) and the Metastasis (AJ 106-115). 
They are preserved in the VirtutesJohannis, a hagiographical compilation generally 
dated to the 6th century.'’ 0 It is based on the Passio Johannis of Melito of Laodicea. 
which it expands by additional material. In the process, the original Drusiana- 
Callimachus story 71 takes the place of the short and colourless miracle story into 
which the Passio had transformed it, the Metastasis™ that of the recasting which was 
to be found in the Passio, from which however some passages are still retained by 
the Vinutes. 71 In relation to the Greek the two passages are distinct. The Latin 
Drusiana-Callimachus story is closer to it than the Latin version of the Metastasis. 74 
This suggests the hypothesis that they are also of different origin. While we may see 
in the Drusiana-Callimachus story of the Virtutes an isolated portion of the Latin 
translation of the Acts of John as a whole, the version of the Metastasis could derive 
from a self-contained Latin Metastasis tradition independent of it, such as is attested 
also in Chromatius of Aquileia. 73 

That still other narrative sequences, m addition to the Drusiana-Callimachus 
story, were handed on by the Latin version of the Acts of John is shown by the late 
mediaeval Irish story of John, Beat ha Eoin Bruinne , only partially extant, which was 
composed by the Augustinian canon Uighisdin (= Augustine) MacRaighin (d. 1405) 
on the basis of a Latin Vorlage. 1 * In addition to apocalyptic material 77 and elements 
from the Passio Johannis, 7 * it contains three passages which go back to the Acts of 
John. Its story of the priest who has a secret sin which is detected by John, and who 
repents, is reconciled, and celebrates mass together with John, 7 * is to all appearances 
a heavily revised version, transposed into the colouring of the mediaeval Church, of 
an episode of which part is preserved cm the verso of the Greek Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 
850. This fragment tells of a man named Zeuxis, who makes an attempt at suicide 


The Acts of John 

but, evidently through the apostle's intervention, is saved and then takes part in a 
eucharistic service conducted by John. His name may probably be found in that of 
the priest in the Irish narrative, Eusip, Seusisp, Seuesp or Seusp. In addition there also 
appears in the Irish text the deacon Birro, in whom we may without doubt recognise 
the ‘deacon’ of the Acts of John, the brother who ministered to the apostle (AJ 30, 
61; 110), Verus Ovf\QCx;. Bt|qqo<;, Bi^og Byrrus in the Virtutes 

Johannis). The adjoining section , 10 in which at John’s prayer hay is transmuted into 
gold, which he then throws into the water to demonstrate the worthlessness of earthly 
goods, apparently preserves an episode to which Evodius of Uzala once alludes. He 
confronts the Manicheans with a series of arguments against their denial of a bodily 
resurrection, and then writes: ‘And yet, though flesh itself is called grass (foenwn , 
lit “hay”) because of its present weakness, you believe that John made gold out of 
grass, but you do not believe that God the Almighty can make a spiritual body out 
of a carnal body.’" Here he clearly presupposes that the story of the apostle's 
miraculous deed was generally known at least to the Manicheans who shared his 
environment It may therefore be taken as certain that it derived from a source in 
circulation among them, and such a source would be the Acts of John in the 
Manichean corpus of apocryphal Acts. The motif of the transformation of worthless 
material into gold by John does indeed also occur elsewhere, in the Passio Johannis * 2 
as well as in Symeon Metaphrastes (second half of 1 Oth cent.) and in a hagiographical 
compilation about John which rests chiefly on Pseudo-Prochorns and is preserved in 
a Georgian redaction by Euthymius Hagiorites (d. 1028).* 3 But the motif of contempt 
for earthly goods, which corresponds to the tendency of the ancient Acts of John, is 
dominant only in the Passio Johannis and the Irish text, and over against the Passio 
the Irish text agrees with Evodius in the detail of the transforming of the hay into gold. 
Moreover the statements of John which occur in it, about the imperishability of the 
garment which he put on with his acceptance of apostolic service (c. 13), recall those 
in AJ 29 about the true shape, form and colour which cannot be caught in a painted 
picture. Finally, it is not difficult to recognise in a third section of the Irish story * 4 
John’s meeting with a demon, which appears on the recto of POx 850“ 

3JL2. Eastern versions of the Metastasis: If we leave aside the question of an 
ancient Syriac version of the Acts of John, 1 “ the available material offers no clue to 
suggest that the document as a whole existed in other translations in addition to the 
Latin, although this finding, which might rest upon the accidents of transmission 
history, does not definitively exclude the temporary existence of such translations. 
In any case the Metastasis underwent a wide transmission of its own, outside of the 
context of the Acts as a whole, and found its way into almost all the languages of the 
eastern Church. 

A Syriac version from the Greek was published by W. Wright (Apocryphal Acts 
of the Apostles.London 1871; reprint Amsterdam 1968,166-72; English trans. 1161- 
68 ) from what is still the only known manuscript of it. It cannot have been the only 
ooe, for there is a secondary Arabic version from the Syriac which presents another 
form of text (see Junod/Kaestli 43f.). 

A fifth-century Armenian translation based on a Greek original enjoyed a wide 
circulation, and found its way into Armenian biblical manuscripts; it has often been 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

[Hinted (survey in BHO, No. 474), inter alia in the Armenian Bible edited by 
Johannes Zohrab (Venice 1 SOS, Appendix 27-29); English translation by S.C. Malan 
(The Conflicts of the Apostles, London 1871); separate edition with Latin translation 
by Joseph Catergian (Dormitio b. loannis Apostoh Ecclesiae Ephesinae de obitu 
loannis Apostoli narratio armeniaca saeculi V, Vienna 1877, 32-51). 

A Coptic (Sahidic) translation, presumably of the 6th century, is preserved in its 
full text and in a series of fragments, and has been critically edited in Junod/Kaestli 
(382-397); unsatisfactory English translation in EA.. Wallis Budge, Coptic Apocry¬ 
pha in the Dialect of Upper Egypt, London 1913,233-240 (the Coptic basis, ib. 51- 
58); additional notes on the manuscript tradition by Enzo Lucchesi, 'Contribution 
codicologique au corpus copte des actes apocryphes des apdtres’, in Paul-Hubert 
Poirier, La version copte de la predication et du martyre de Thomas (Subsidia 
hagiographica 67), Brussels 1984, 5-24 (esp. 19-21). 

A fragment of a free, paraphrastic Coptic (Bohairic) version is preserved in a 
Cairo manuscript (Coptic Museum 5-6) deriving from the monastery of Macarius in 
the Wadi ‘n-Natrun; in this the Metastasis is linked by an intervening section with 
the first pan of the later Acts of John by ps.-Prochonis. and thus incorporated into 
an Egyptian collection of later apostolic Acts. 17 The fragment corresponds to AJ 
112.3-18 (Junod/ Kaestli 307-9); text with English translation in The Monasteries of 
the Wadi 'n Nat run I. New Coptic texts from the Monastery of St Macarius, ed. H.G. 
Evelyn White, New York 1926. 36f. 

Michel van Esbroeck has published a Georgian version, probably of the 6th 
century, which serves as the conclusion of a Georgian version of the Acts of John of 
ps.-Prochonis (*Les formes gtorgiennes des Acta Johannis', AnalBoll 93. 1975, 5- 
19; esp. 11-19, with a Latin translation), C. Kekelidze a later one revised under 
Armenian influence and transmitted as an independent text (Monumenta 
hagiographica georgica 11, Tiflis 1918,198-201; Latin translation likewise in van 

A version of the Metastasis close to the Greek text form y, but severely abridged, 
forms the conclusion of a hagiographical compilation about John resting especially 
on ps.-Prochorus and preserved in a Georgian revision by Euthymius Hagiorites (d. 
1028); its text is published in At’ oms Iveriis monastris 1074 c. helt’naceri agapebit, 
Tiflis 1901, 111-176, and Michel van Esbroeck has provided a French translation 
(* Les Acta Johannis traduits par Euthyme 1 ’ Hagiorite ’, in Bedi Kartlisa 33,1975,73- 
109; for the Metastasis, pp. 108f., c. 194-200 of van Esbroeck's division). 

In Arabic, two secondary versions of the Metastasis have been published with an 
English translation by Agnes Smith Lewis, Acta mythologica Apostolorum (Horae 
Semiticae EH), London 1904 (Arabic text) and The mythological Acts of the Apostles 
(Horae Semiticae IV), London 1904 (English trans.). The first (text op. cit 144-146; 
trans. 168-171), as a continuation of the later Syriac John story (see Junod/Kaestli 
705-717), is translated along with it from the Syriac. The other (text op. cit 46-51; 
tram. 54-59) rests on the Bohairic Coptic version and belongs to the Egyptian 
collection of later apocryphal Acts. Finally Georg Graf gives a list of manuscripts 
containing the Metastasis outside of this collection (Geschichte der arabischen 
christlichen Literatur I (Studi e Testi 118], Rome 1944, 263f.). 

Finally, the Metastasis was translated into Ethiopic from the Arabic, not before 


The Acts of John 

the first half of the 14th century, in association with the Egyptian Arabic collection 
of apostolic Acts already mentioned; text in E.A. Wallis Budge, The Contendings 
oftheApostleslLoadoo 1899,214-222; English trans.ib.H, London 1901,253-263; 
an older English translation on the basis of one manuscript by S.C. Mai an, The 
Conflicts of the Holy Apostles, London 1871, 137-145. 

On the other hand a text circulated in the Old Slavonic tradition as the ‘Death of 
John the theologian’ ( prestavlenie ioanna bogoslava) rests not on the Metastasis of 
the ancient Acts of John but on ps.-Prochorus. M 

4. The structure and unity of the book: Enough of the text of the Acts of John 
has come down to us to allow its whole structure to be shown in a table; items resting 
on inference or conjecture are printed in italics; further details are insetted at 
corresponding points in the translation (but cf. also Junod/Kaestli 76-100). 
Introduction and antecedents 

Introduction of the narrator (Leucius; cf. above pp. 92ff.)? 

John's conversion to continence (cf. c. 113)? 

Allocation of the mission areas among the apostles? 

First travel-narrative 

Journey from Jerusalem (?) to Miletus 
Stay in Miletus 

Journey from Miletus to Ephesus (c. 18) 

First Stay in Ephesus 

Raising of Cleopatra and Lycomedes (cc. 19-25) 

The portrait of John (cc. 26-29) 

Healing of the old women (incomplete, cc. 30-36) 

Conversion ofDrusiana, conflict with Andronicus. conversion ofAndronicus 
John’s Preaching of the Gospel (cc. 87-105) 

Introduction (cc. 87-88) 

The Christ of many forms (cc. 88-93) 

The Hymn of Christ (cc. 94-96) 

Revelation of the Mystery of the Cross (cc. 97-102) 

Concluding exhortation (cc. 103-105). 

Break, whose length and content cannot be determined. 

Destruction of the Temple of Artemis and conversion of the Ephesians (cc. 

Raising of the priest of Artemis (cc. 46-47) 

Conversion of a parricide (cc. 48-54) 

Call to Smyrna (c. 55) 

Second travel-narrative 

Journey from Ephesus to Smyrna 
Healing of the sons of Antipatros (c. 56-57) 

Further journey through various towns (probably Pergamum, Thyateira, 
Sardis, Philadelphia) to Laodicea 
Departure for Ephesus (c. 58-59) 

The obedient bugs (c. 60-61) 

Second Stay in Ephesus and Death of John 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Arrival in Ephesus (c. 62) 

Drusiana and Callimachus (cc. 63-86) 

The Departure (cc. 106-110) 

Death of John (cc. 111-115) 

The Hymn of Christ (AJ 94-96) ami the Revelation of the Mystery of the Cross 
(AJ 79-102) stand apart from the Acts of John as a whole in form and content, through 
their special character.** They were evidently incorporated into the Acts as a piece 
already completely formed. Junod and Kaestli assume the same for the eucharistic 
prayer in the Metastasis (c. 109), since we can detect connections m terminology and 
in substance between it and AJ 94-102.*°They further reckon with the possibility that 
these sections did not belong to the original content of the document, but were 
inserted only later. They see an indication of this, in addition to the special character 
of these sections, in an alleged break between AJ 93 and 94.*' But the last two 
sentences of AJ 93, which they see as the conclusion of what precedes, are rather to 
be understood as an introduction to what follows, and thus actually as a connective 
element, with a parenthetic insertion to explain why in this' preaching of the Gospel ’ 
there is no reference to the miracles of Christ, or to signs as a familiar part of the 
preaching of Christ.” There is no indication at all of a secondary insertion of AJ 109. 
The passage is formally so firmly bonded into the context that the idea of its later 
introduction entails the hazardous assumption that it has supplanted an original text 
with the same function” The redactional integration favours the view that the two 
passages, AJ 94-102 and 109, despite their special character, belonged from the 

beginning to the Acts of John. 

5. Character: As the frame for their narrative, the Acts of John claim as their own 
the Church tradition of the activity of John the son of Zebedee in Asia Minor. They 
make the apostle take up his work in Ephesus, from there undertake a missionary 
journey to Smyrna, to other towns and finally to Laodicea, which probably means 
through the seven communities of the Apocalypse of John, and in conclusion find 
his last rest in Ephesus. The content with which this framework is filled out, however, 
disputes this John-tradition with the Great Church, and claims it for the Christian 
groups among whom the Acts had their home.* It is from this that the most peculiar 
section in the document, John's revelation speech in AJ 87-102, derives its specific 
significance. Seen purely in terms of literary criticism, it brackets together a series 
of smaller sections, namely John's account of the manifold forms and actual other- 
woridliness in which the Lord encountered his disciples (AJ 88-93), a revelation 
hymn of Christ with its own introduction (AJ 94-96), and a revelation discourse of 
Christ about the mystery of the Cross (AJ 97-102), which redactionally is closely 
attached to the hymn by a transition in AJ 97 and a reference back in AJ 101, but 
likewise is provided with its own introduction and conclusion. In terms of its literary 
form this speech by John can be called a gospel.” The Acts make their apostle 
proclaim this gospel in Ephesus. Thereby they set it, as genuine Johannine 
proclamation, in opposition to the gospel document of the ecclesiasticised ‘Johannine ’ 
tradition, the Fourth Gospel, of which church tradition affirmed that John wrote it 
in Ephesus. 


The Acts of John 

These two sections, the hymn and the revelation discourse about the mystery of 
the Cross, which to all appearances were taken up into the ‘ gospel' of the Acts of John 
as units already given a literary form, have a clearly gnostic character. Junod/Kaestli 
consider a kinship in motif with Valentinian Gnosticism, which they have thrown 
into relief, as an indication of origin in a milieu close to the eastern school of 
Valentinianism." If it is correct that they were inserted into the Acts from the 
beginning and, as part of John’s preaching of the Gospel, in conscious opposition to 
the Gospel tradition of the Church, then they also define the horizon of interpretation 
within which the remaining material is to be read. It reflects an understanding of 
Christian belief ultimately accessible only to an elect circle, within the framework 
of a dualism of two spheres of life, that of salvation determined by Christ and that 
of evil dominated by Satan. To this corresponds a ‘realised’ eschatology. It becomes 
especially evident in the narratives about raisings of the dead, which should not 
simply be understood as merely arctalogicaJ, but have the character of signs. Here 
the unity of faith and possession of life manifests itself in the conjunction of 
resurrection and conversion (AJ 19-25; 46f.; 48-53; 72-78), so that the lack of a 
conversion logically makes the resurrection also once more ineffective (AJ 81 -86), 
and the raising of the model Christian Drusiana (AJ 79f.) lets it be seen that the 
believer has life even in death. Salvation is made accessible through the revelation 
of Christ. It has no continuity with the Old Testament, as is made clear in a quite non- 
polemical way, apart from a remark about ‘the lawless Jews whose law-giver is the 
lawless serpent’ in the introduction to the revelation hymn (AJ 94), by the simple 
omission of any Old Testament allusions. This leads to a marked ‘Christomonism’ 
against the background of an image of Christ imparted by the ‘gospel’, the salient 
feature of which is a polymorphism of Christ which gives expression to his other¬ 
worldly character, beyond the grasp of human comprehension.* 7 Salvation, as the 
possession of life, is realised in faith, and there seems to be no need for any 
sacramental mediation. At any rate there is never any mention of baptism in the 
conversion stories of the Acts of John. It is mentioned only once, in passing, in an 
exorcism formula (AJ 84), a text which is possibly traditional material already 
shaped. The eucharist celebrated without wine as a breaking of bread has the 
character of thanksgiving and remembrance of Christ for his glorification. The new 
life manifests itself in. and is to be substantiated by, aversion from all that is earthly 
and corruptible, in an encratite contempt for worldly goods, in disparagement of the 
body and in sexual continence. 

In relation to the New Testament tradition there is a marked difference between 
the ‘gospel’ and the narrative material. In the latter the logion ‘Ask, and it shall be 
given you’ is once quoted verbatim in the form which appears also in Mt. 7:7 and Lk. 

11:9 (AJ 22), possibly as an element of a petition handed down with its basic features 
already firmly fixed in the tradition," ami in a missionary exhortation there is a 
passage (AJ 35) which lodes like a homiletic application of the pericope about the 
Rich Man and Lazarus (Lk. 16:19-26). Other contacts in form and substance with 
individual New Testament passages, indicated in the following translation, are in 
contrast too general and not significant enough to prove any clear direct relationship. 
On the other hard the ‘gospel’, in itself again not homogeneous, echoes in its first 
part a series both of Synoptic and also of Johannine motifs,** which however are used 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

or transformed very freely, and altogether made to serve the author’s own theological 
tendency. At AJ 90 the admonition ‘Do not be faithless, but believing’ (Jn. 20:27) 
appears word for word, but directed to John instead of Thomas and expanded by a 
further phrase. The revelation discourse about the mystery of the Cross presents a 
string of allusions to the passion story (AJ 97 ; 101) which with reminiscences of the 
Gospel of Peter and once perhaps of the Diatessaron contrast with the canonical 
Gospel tradition. 100 In this section the Revealer’s charge ‘Know that I am wholly in 
the Father, and the Father in me' (AJ 100) is closely connected with Jn. 14:10.Further 
there occur in it the Johannine titles for Christ: Logos, bread, door, way, truth, life, 
resurrection (AJ 98), some of which also appear in the Hymn of Christ (AJ 95f.), as 
well as the term 'seed' from the Synoptic parables tradition, used as a predicate of 
Christ. The hymn again in its introduction evidently links up with Mk. 14:20; Ml 
26:30 (AJ 94), and in one of its couplets (AJ 95) takes up and transforms Ml 11:17; 
Lk. 7:32. 

6. Circumstances of composition: The earliest attestation, the indications of a 
bilingual milieu and possibly even of an original Syriac form of at least part of the 
‘gospel ’. as well as a background of tradition close to that of the Acts ofThomas, must 
all make us think of an origin in the region of East Syria for the Acts of John. Junod/ 
Kaestli (692-694) think of an origin in Egypt. The basic presupposition for this is 
however the not very probable assumption that the revelation of the mystery of the 
Cross, the Syrian origin of which they do not question, is an element of a secondary 
interpolation. This passage, especially in association with the other indications 
mentioned, tells so emphatically in favour of a Syrian origin that in comparison the 
arguments advanced for an Egyptian origin cannot tilt the balance. That it is possible 
to adduce parallels in terminology or in ideas for a string of passages in the Acts of 
John, partly in Clement of Alexandria and Origen, partly in the Hermetic literature, 
shows only the openness of Alexandrian eclecticism and syncretism for such ideas, 
motifs and traditions, but not their Egyptian origin or their dissemination exclusively 
in Egypt. Again, an Egyptian origin for the motif of a deity revealing himself in many 
forms, 101 which was widely current, is still not an adequa t e indication of locality for 
its adoption by the Acts of John, especially in view of the regular traffic between 
Egypt and the Syrian region. That the term 6o«p6otxov, which in the Acts of John 
describes an undergarment, occurs elsewhere only in the Periplus mansErythraei , 108 
in a list of articles exported from Egypt to the Eritrean coast, does not mean that it 
must be a question of an Egyptian designation for something specially Egyptian; in 
view of the detailed rewriting of this designation in the Sahidic version, 10 which 
starts out from the Greek etymology, this seems rather improbable. 

The date of the Acts of John is usually placed in the second half of the 2nd 
century .'"* According to Junod/Kaestli, they were composed at this time by a member 
of the hellenistic cultivated classes, who drew upon various literary Gattungen and 
in so doing, without any specific attachment to a concrete community, sought to 
propagate a Christianity as he understood it, as the expression of certain aspirations 
of a philosophical attitude to the world which be had held even before his 
conversion. 10 The Acts of John however presuppose the tradition of John’s activity 
in Ephesus and Asia Minor, which was apparently fully developed and brought into 


The Acts of John 

general circulation only in the last third of the 2nd century. On the other hand they 
were already used in the early Manichean Church as part of a corpus of several 
apostolic Acts. This suggests the first half of the 3rd century for their composition, 
in which evidently older material, already put into a fixed form (AJ 94-96,97 and 
perhaps also 109). was used. The objection raised against so late a date, that the author 
must then have taken up a stance over against the developing doctrines of the Great 
Church, 1 ® is not valid, since the Acts of John as a whole, in their total redactional 
plan, can be understood as precisely the taking-up of such a stance. They belong in 
the debate with ‘orthodox’ claims to tradition, such as made their influence felt in 
the first half of the 3rd century in the region of East Syria, in Edessa for example with 
the group of die Palutians. 107 This is at least the pattern of a situation out of which 
the origin of the document can be made comprehensible. It serves to bring self- 
assurance to a Christian group which feels itself bound to the apostle John as the 
guarantor of a tradition of ‘Johanninc’ theology transmuted into gnostic terms, and 
which certainly must be conceived as only a very small community without any 
developed institutional forms. The picture conjured up by the Acts themselves, of 
a primitive Christian house church, may to be sure be an archaising idealisation, just 
as the picture sketched of John, as an itinerant charismatic preacher accompanied by 
a changing group of adherents male and female, should not be taken without more 
ado as a reflection of the actual situation in a specific community at the time when 
the Acts came into being. They manifest no interest in the legitimising of any 
institutional office, nor do they share the relegation of women to an inner realm of 
life in Church and home which was coming into force in the ‘orthodox ’ development. 
Their author seems to be not unfamiliar with the rules of rhetoric and perhaps also 
with the dramatisations of the Greek novel, and makes their action take place chiefly 
in an upper-class milieu. He is probably one of the circle of those who belonged to 
the cultivated classes of the area of origin, people who with a view to a ‘philosophical ’ 
life were critical of their times and inclined to withdrawal, and had found in such 
Christian groups a new orientation. 



1. E. Junod and J.D. Kacstii ( Hissoire) offer a detailed examination of the attestation and use of 
the Acts of John in early Christian literature, with a thorough discussion of the individual 
witnesses; as a rule, separate reference is not made to this in what follows. 

2. On this see vol. l.p. 387. 

3. Apoc. Joh.. version of Pap. BeroL 8502,19.6-19, ed. Walter C. Till/Hans-Martin Schenke, Die 
gnastischen Schriften des kopaschen Papyrus Berolinensis 8502 (TU60), *1972,79-81; version 
of NHC U 13-20, ed. Martin Krausc/Pahcr Labib. Die drei Versionen des Apokryphon des 
Johannes (Abh. <idL archioL lnstituts Kiiro. kept Reihe 1), 1962,109-111; not in the NHCIV 
1 version, ib.2D\ (for the verston in NHC III and that used by Irenaeus, ad. Haer. 129, comparison 

4. Cf. Manfred Hornschuh in NTApo’ II (ET), 81f.; Knut Schaferdiek, 'Hcricunft und Interesse 
der alien Johannesakten’, ZNW 74. 1983,247-267. esp. 255f. 

5. Clement of Alexandria. Hypotyp. ffagm. Ill, ed. Otto Stahl in/Ludwig FrUchtel III (GCS 17*), 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

6. Cf. on this E Junod/J.D. Kaestli, Histoire 13-16. 

7. Cf. also Jn. 20.27; the laying here addressed to Thomas appears in AJ 90, admittedly in another 
context, as addressed to John. 

8. E. Junod/J.D. Kaestli, Histoire, 36-40, on the older question of the relation of the Act* of John 
and the Acts of Peter, see below, pp. 274f. 

9. Cf. on this K. Schiferdiek. 'Herkunft' 249-231. 

10. Ps.-Cyprian, de Montibus Sinai et Sion 13, ed. W. Hartel (CSEL 3.3), 1172-6. 

11. See above, pp. 87f. 

12. See above, pp. 88-91. in addition to the passages mentioned there, cf. the mention of Druaiana 
in another of the ‘pilgrim psalms' (ed. Allberry, 180.30); on contacts b etw een the ‘Amen psalm* 
and the hymn of Christ and the revelation of the mystery of the Cross (AJ 94-102) cf. P. Nagel, 
Apostelakien' (p. 96. note 15) 168-171 and JunotVKaestli, Histoire 54-56. 

13. LtberGroduum, Sam. 30.6. ed. Michael Kmc«ko(Patrok>g>aSyriaca 3), P»is 1926,877.14-16. 

14. Gregory Barhebraeus, adv. Haer. 22. ed. R. Graffin/F. Nau (PO 13), Paris 1919,260.If.; cf. 
on this Junod/Kaestli. Histoire 40-42. 

15. Cf. on this K. Schiferdiek, ‘Herkunft' 251-253. 

16. Eusebius. HE III 25.6, ed. E. Schwartz I (GCS 9.1). 252.17 (see vol. 1, p. 47). 

17. Epiphanius, Pan. 47.1 3, ed. K. Holl/J. Dummer □ (GCS 31*), 1980,216-5f. 

18. Epiphanius, Pan. 79.5.3. ed. K. Hod III (GCS 37). 4802-5. 

19. Cone. Nic. D, sectio V: Junod/Kaestli 400.9-13. 

20. Didymus, Comm, on Zech IV 210. ed. L. Doulreleau 111 (SC 85), Paris 1962,9l021f. 

21 Ps-Macarius. Horn. 1122.4. ed. H. Benhold (GCS), 1973.1153.4; AJ 22,56,108 (cf. also 
Act. Thom. 20: the doctor who heals ‘without reward'); on ps -Macanus see Junod/Kaestli, 

Histoire 33f. 

22. Junod/Kaestli, Histoire 30; Francois Bovon, Les Actes de Philippe’, ANRW H 25.6,1988, 
4431-4527. esp. 4522. 

23. Passio Johannis. ed. Johann Albert Fabricius. Codex apocryphus Novi Tes tame nn III. 
Hamburg 1724, *1743. 604-623 (after Franciscus Maria FVxentinus. Vetustius occidental!! 
ecclesiae Marryrologium, Lucca 1668,130-137); PG 5, cols. 1239-1250 (after Gotthold Heine, 
Bibliotheca anecdotorum I, Leipzig 1848. 109-117); cf. on this Knut Schiferdiek. ‘Die Passio 
Johannis des Melito von Laodikeia und die Virtu tes Johannis'. AnalBoll 103,1985.368-382. 

24. Passio Johannis, ed. Fabricius. 607; PG 5, cols. 1241C-1242B (Drusiana). Fabricius 616f.; 
PG 5. col. 1247A-C (temple of Artemis). Fabricius 621-623; PG 5. coL 1249B-1250C 

25. Passio Johannis, Prol.. ed. Fabnous, 604-606; PG 5. ed*. 1239B-1242B. 

26. Philaster, de Haer. 88.6, ed. F. Hey len (CChrSL 9), 255f.; Faustus of Milevis ap. Augustine, 
c. Faustum XXX 4, ed. J Zycha (CSEL 25.1), 751.8-752.5; on this see above, pp. 90f. 

27. Augustine, c. Advert. Leg. et Proph. I 20, PL 42, col. 626. 

28. Augustine. In Joh. tract 124.2, ed. R. Willems (CChrSL 36) 681 f.; cf. on this Junod/Kaestli, 
Histoire 81-85. 

29. Augustine, £Jp. 237.2 and 5f.. ed. A. Goldbacher IV (CSEL 57), 526.14-24 and 529.3-532.18 
(the parts of lines quoted are brought together in note 27 on p. 206 below). 

30. Evodius of Fide 40, ed. J.Zycha (CSEL 25.2), 971.1; on this see below, p. 161. 

31. Chromatius of Aquileia, Sermo XXI 4, ed. R. £ttix/J. Lemarif (CChrSL 9A), 99.78-83. 
Chromatius’ report speaks of John's great age, and says that the Lord informed him of the day 
of his decease. He could also have taken from the same source a reference to the miracles which 
occurred at the place of his grave (ibid..99.87f.). In both points his'Departure of John'is in contact 
with the farm of the Metastasis taken up by the Passio Johannis of Melito of Laodicea, but also 
further developed into the cult legend of the basilica of John in Ephesus in particular (Fabricius 
621 and 623; PG 5. cols. 1249B/C and 1250C). It is evidently a case of features da development 
of the Metastasis tradition combined with the Ephesian cult of John. The community of Aquileia 


The Acts of John 

alio had connections with this cult It possessed dust from John’s grave, and therefore felt itself 
obliged to impressive celebration of the anniversary of his decease (Chromaiius, ibid. 99.91-93). 
31 Monarchian Prologue to John, ed Jurgen Regul, Die anomardonidschen Evangetienprotoge 
(Am der Gcachichtc der lateinischen Bibel 6), 1969,42f.; on place and date of origin, ibid. 212- 
261 The Prologue taka up (line If.) John’s own statement from the beginning of AJ113, and in 
lines 18-21 reports the essential content of AJ 11 If. Certainly the ‘Metastasis'(AJ 106-115) had 
a wide dicuUtion outside of the context of the ancient Acts erf John, but in view of the evidence 
for Prisdllianist knowledge of the ancient Acts we need not think of that here. 

33. On this tee above, pp. 159f.. and on the historical place of the Epistle of ps.-Titus Aurelio de 
Santos Otero, above pp. 53fT. 

34. Turribius As tunc. Ep. ad Idac. el Cepon. 5 (PL 54. col. 694). 

35. Innocent I. Ep. 6.7, ed. H. Wurm. Apollinans 12,1936,77 line 35; Denzinger-Schtinmetzer, 
“1976, No. 213; Mirtx-Aland, 1967, No. 405. 

36. Ps.-Gelasius, de Libris Recip. V 4.4, ed. E von Dobschiitz (TU 38.4) 51 see voL 1. p. 39. 

37. Junod/KaestU(799-834)prcaentacritical edition of the VirtutesJohannis, which belong toalarger 
collection of Vvrtutesapostolonim (in the older literature also described as the ps.-Abdias collection). 
On the dating, cf. Louis Duchesne, 'Les anciens recueils des legendes apostoliques’: Compte-rendu 
du Ilf Congris sciendfique international des Catholiques, Brussels 1895,69-79, esp. 73f. 

38. On this see below, pp. 160ff. 

39. Phodus, Bibl. cod 229. ed R. Henry IV. 141; cf. on this Junod/Ksesth, Histoire 115f. 

40. On the ActsqfJohn in Rome, see Junod/Kaestli 836-886; edition of the text there, pp. 881-886. 

41. John of Thessalonica, Koimesis Homily, cd M. Jugie (PO 19), 3773-12. 

41 Con. Nic. H, actio V (Mansi XIII, cols. 168D-172C); critical edition of the quotations from 
the Acts of John in Junod/Kaestli 361-365 (Greek text) and 366-368 (Latin translation of 
Anastasius Biblxxhecanus). 

43. Ed Theodor Zahn, Geschichte des neutestamentl. Kanons II1.1890.300.65 (see voL l.p. 42; 
AJ) and 29815 (Ml); cf. on this Junod/Kaestli, Histoire 126-128. Dependent on this list is the 
'Synopsis' handed down under the name of Athanasius among others, a catalogue the age of which 
likewise cannot be determined which names the Travels of John beside those of Peter and Thomas 
(ed Zahn, op. ciL 317); cf. on this Erich KJostermann, Analecta zurSeptuaginta, Hexapla und 
Patristik. 1895.77-112 and Junod/Kaestli, Histoire 127f. 

44. Photius. Bibl. cod 114, ed R. Henry □, 84-86; see above, pp. 87f.; on the dale. cf. Junod/ 
Kaestli, Histoire 133. note 1. 

45. Cf. Stephen Gero, Byzantine Iconoclasm during the reign of Constantine V (CSCO 384), 
Leuven 1977,31 The members of the Synod of Hiereia themselves could not form any reliable 
judgment on the theological character of the Acts of John, since they had only an extract at their 
disposal, as Gregory of Ncocaesarea states atthe second Nicene Council (Mansi XUL cd. 173E). 

46. On the use of such tradition see Junod/Kaestli. Histoire 1 lOf. 

47. In MS 188 of the monastery of St John on P&tmos (R in Junod/Kaestli) and in MS 2 of the 
monastery of St Mary at Mezzojuso in Sicily (Z in Junod/Kaestli), closely related to it and 
presumably also deriving from Patmos. Thai on the other hand this passage lay before the Council 
of Nicaea in its original context in the Acts of John is shown by its quotation ‘from the 
pseudepigraphical Travels of the holy apostles' (Junod/Kaestli 361) and its association with 
passages from AJ 93-98. 

48. See further below. 

49. Cone. Nic. 11, actio V (Mansi XIII, col. 176A). 

50. Leo the Great, letter to Turribius of Astorga on 21 July 447, c. 15 (PL 54, col. 688A). 

51. Ps.-Prochorus, Acta Johannis, ed Th. Zahn, 3.1 -44.9 (on the Acts of John of ps.-Prochonis 
see below, pp. 429ff.). 

52. Ed. K. Tserakian. Ankanon girt arrakf elakant, Venice 1904,219-221; French translation 
by L. Leloir, Merits Apocryphes sur les apdtres. Traduction de ridition arminienne de Venue, 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

I (CChrSA 3). Tumhout 1986.323-325. 

53. On this see below, pp. 160ff 

54. Cod. htsL gr. 63 of the Austrian National Library in Vienna (C in Junod/Kaestli); cf. an this 
Herbert Hunger, Beschreibung der griechischen Handschriften der dsterreichischen 
Nationalbibiiothek,' Teil 1 (Museion NF4, Reihe 11), Vienna 1961.72f. The colophon is printed 
in Josef Bick, Die Schreiber der Wiener griechischen Handschriften (Museion. Abhandlungen 
1), Vienna 1920, no. 22 (pp. 33f.), with a false location of the Byzantine eparchy of Gothia also 
taken over by Junod/Kaestli. 

55. See above, p. 155. 

56. Oxford, Bodleian Library Gr. th. f. 13 (P); Ap 21 in Kun Aland, Repertorium der griechischen 
chrisdichen Papyri I (PTS 18). 1976, 383; lext in Junod/Kaestli 118-122. 

57. See above, p. 160f.. 

58. Line 21 is marked off as the superscription for what follows. 

59. See above, p. 160f. 

60. On this see below, pp. 206, note 33. 

61. GtcgotyBarttebraeus, as at p. 168, note 14above; on this cf. K. Schiferdiek. Hcriainft' 251-253. 

62. a. on this K. Schiferdiek, •Herkunfi’ 253f. 

63. See above, p. 156 

64. Auielio de Santos Otero. Die handschriflliche Uberlieferung der aitslawischen Apokryphen 
1 (PTS 20). 1978,98. 

65. See above, pp. 154f. 

66. See below, p. 206, note 27. 

67. Junod/Kvstli 139f.; numbering of lines after Domitien de Bruyne's edition: ‘Epistula Titi, 
discipuli Pauli, de dispositione sanctimonii'. Revue Binidictine 27.1925,47-72. 

68. Cf. Junod/Kaestli 140-145. 

69. See above, pp. 87f. 

70. See above, p. 155. 

71. Vinutes Johannis IV (Junod/Kaestli 803-814). 

72. Virtutes Johannis IX (Junod/Kaestli 827-832). 

73. On the relation of die Passio and the Virtutes. see K. Schiferdiek. Pass to' (as p. 168. note 23). 

74. a. Junod/Kaestli 790-793. 

75. See above, p. 154. 

76. Cf. on this M. McNamara, The Apocrypha in the Irish Church. Dublin 1975,95-98; Junod/ 
Kaestli 109-136. Text: Beatha Eotn Bmirme . ed. Gearfrd Mac NiocailL in Eigse 7.1955.248- 
253 (* Part ID and8.1956222-230(= Part I), translation erf the passages which can be traced hack 
to the Acts of John below, pp. 210-213. 

77. U 1-9; Eigse 7,249f. 

78.1 1-8; Eigse 8,223-225. 0 10-19; Eigse 7.250-253. 

79.19-11; Eigse 8.225f.; see below, pp. 21 Of. 

80.1 12f.; Eigse 8.226f.; see below, pp. 21 If. 

81. Evodius of Uzala. de Fide contra Manich. 40. ed. J. Zycha (CSEL 25.2) 970.31-971 2. 

82. Passio Johannis. Fabricius 606616; PG 5. cols. 1243B-1247A; taken up verbatim Virtutes 
Johannis Vlf., Junod/Kaestli 816-823: two brothers sell their property for the benefit of the poor 
and attach themselves to John, but then regret their action. John transforms sticks and stones into 
gold and jewels for them, but with the support of a dead man nused by him leads them to see that 
they have thus exchanged the true spiritual riches for worthless earthly goods, and after their 
repentance changes the gold and jewels back again. 

83. Symeon Metaphrastes, Hypomnem inJoh. Apost. VI, PG 116, cols 701d-704A (cf. Menaion 
for 26 Sept: Synaxarion Ecclesiae Constantinopoiitanae. ed. R Delehaye, AASS LXII, Propyl. 
Nov., oots. 81.18-82.10); Michel van Esfaroeck, ‘Les Acta lohannis traduits par Euthyme 
l'Hagionte', Beck Kartlisa 33. 1975, 73-109, esp. 106108 (c. 187-192 of van Esbroeck's 


The Acts of John 

division). Here the motifs of the suicide miraculously prevented and the transformation of 
worthless material into gold are combined in to die story of a Christian who in the face of economic 
ruin to his life but is delivered (without John's intervention), and then is heed by John 
from his financial embarrassment also by the changing of grass or hay into gold. We should 
probably not rule out the possibility that here as in the Passio Johannis (see note 82) we have a 
completely free use of a motif originally deriving from the Acts of John. 

84.114; Eigse 8.227; see below, p. 212. 

85. See above, p. 157f. 

86. Cf. above, p. 158f. 

87. On this collection see lgnazio Guidi, ‘Gli am apocrifi degli Apostoli nci testi copti, arabi cd 
taaptc\\Giorncde della Society Miaxicalialianal, 1888,1 -66, cf. Fran^oise Morard, ‘Notes sur 
le recueil copte des Acte* apocryphes des Apfltres', Revue de Thdologie et de Philosophy 113, 
1981,403-413 (without consideration of the Bohainc manuscript). 

88. Published from a late manuscript by El. Demina, Tichonravoskij Damaslan U, Sofia 1971, 
81-88; see on this A de Santos Otero, p. 435 below. 

89. Cf. on this Junod/Kaestli 581 -586. 

90. Junod/Kaestli 586-589. 

91 Junod/Kaestli 581; cf. pp. 566f and 198. note 1. 

92. See now the examination of the internal structure of the AJ by G. Sirker-Wicklaus. 

93. Junod/Kaestli 566f. 

94. a. on this K. Schkfenliek. ’Hakunft’ 256-261. 

95. On this passage cf. also DJL Cartridge, 'Transfigurations'. 

96. Junod/Kaestli 589-632. 

97. Cf. on this also Norbert Brox, ‘“Dokeiismus" - cine Problcmanzeigc’, ZKG 95.1984,301- 
314, esp. 309-311. 

98. a. Act. Thom. 53; K. Schifeidiek, 'Herkunff 250. 

99. AJ 88: call of the pairs of brothers, Andrew and Peter. James and John (Mk- 1:16-20; Ml 4:18- 
22); AJ89f.: the disciple whom Jesus loved-identified with John-lying in his bosom (Jn. 13:23, 
25; 20:2); AJ 90: the Transfiguration (Mk. 92f.; Mt. 7: If.; Lk. 9-28f); AJ 93: Jesus invited ’by 
one of the Pharisees' (cf. Lk. 7:36; 11:37); the motif of the multiplication of the loaves is closely 
appended, but in a wholly different situation from the corresponding pericopae in the Gospels. 

100. AJ 97: *(a) I am being crucified (b) and pierced with lances and reeds (c) and given vinegar 
and gall to drink. ’ Here (b) looks like a combination of Jn. 19.34: ‘pierced his side with a spear’, and 
Goa. Pet 9. ‘nudged him with a reed* (cf. Mk. 15:19, Ml 27:30). and (c) corresponds to the 
Diatessaron text presupposed by EphraemSyrus (see below, p 207, note 37); but cf. also Bam. 7.3: 
‘he was given vinegar and gall to drink', and Gos.Pcl 16: ‘Give him to drink gall and vinegar’ (the 
connection here with Ps. 68:22 LXX probably was not noticed by the author of AJ 97 and the redactor 
of the Acts). Jn. 19.34 appears to have influenced 'that blood flowed from me’ in AJ 101. 

101. Eric Junod, ‘Polymorphic du dieu sauveur': Gnosticism* et monde hellinistique 
(Publications de I’lnstitut Orientaliste de Louvain 27), Louvain-la-Neuve 1982,38-46; cf. 
Junod/Kaestli 469-474. 

102. See below, p. 208, note 67. 

103. AJ 111.18 of the Sahidic version of the Metastasis, ed. Junod/Kaestli 391: (upper) 
garment with trimming (or fringes) on both sides. 

104. Cf. Junod/Kaestli 694f. 

105. Ibid. 682-687. 

106. Ibid. 695. 

107. Cf. Walter Bauer, Rechtgldubigkeit und Ketzerei, 2nd ed. rev. G. Strecker (BHTh 10), 
1964, 25f. (ET Orthodoxy and Heresy . 1971,20f.). 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

The Acts of John 1 

The beginning of the Acts of John is lost. The numbering of the chapters 
beginning with c. 18 goes back to Maximilian Bonnet’s edition (Aa II 1, 1898; 
reprinted 19S9), which set two later texts before the fragments of the ancient Acts 
of John: first, as cc. 1 -14, in two recensions, the ’ Acts of John in Rome’, which came 
into being as an independent narrative not before the 4th century (new edition with 
introduction and French translation in Junod/Kaestli 835-886); and second, as cc. 14 
(second recension) - 17* (Bonnet 159.24-30; 160.8-36), a transitional passage 
between the narrative of the Patmos exile from the later Acts of John of ps.-Prochorus 
(cf. below, pp. 429ff.) and the ‘ Metastasis’ (cc. 106-115) of the ancient Acts of John. 

It must remain an open question whether the lost beginning of the document, in 
correspondence with the apostle’s personal reminiscences in c. 113, went back as far 
as his call by Christ. In any case it must have reported on his journey - probably from 
Jerusalem - to Miletus, and his sojourn there, and of the persons named in c. 18 at least 
Demonicus and the wife of Marcellus must have been mentioned. It is not 
inconceivable that the apostle’s departure for Asia Minor was related in the context 
of a report about an assignment of mission areas. 2 Probably the narrator, who frequently 
speaks in the ‘ we ’-sty le, introduced himself m the beginning of the document, presumably 
under the name of Leucius, a fictitious disciple of John (see above, pp. 92ff.). 

From Miletus to Ephesus 

18. Now John was hastening to Ephesus, prompted by a vision; so that 
Demonicus and his kinsman Anstodemus and a very wealthy (man named) 
Cleobius and the wife of Marcellus prevailed upon him with some difficulty 
to remain for one day at Miletus and rested with him. And when they departed 
very early in the morning and some four miles of their journey were already 
accomplished, a voice came from heaven in the hearing of us all. saying ’John, 
you shall give glory to your Lord in Ephesus, (glory) of which you shall know, 
both you and all your brothers that are with you and some of those in that place 
who shall believe through you.’ Then John joyfully considered with himself 
what was to happen at Ephesus, saying, ‘Lord, behold I go according to thy 
will. Thy will be done.’ 

First Stay in Ephesus (Chapters 19-55) 

Raising of Cleopatra and Lycomedes 

19. And as we approached the city Lycomedes met us, a wealthy man who 
was praetor of the Ephesians; and he fell at John’s feet and entreated him, 
saying ‘Is your name John? The God whom you preach has sent you to help 
my wife who has been paralysed for the past seven days and is lying there 
unable to be cured. But glorify your God by healing her, and have pity upon 


The Acts of John 

us. For while I was considering with myself what conclusion to draw *from 
this* someone came to me and said. “Lycomedes, enough of this thought 
which besets you, for it is harmful. Do not submit to it! For I have had 
compassion on my servant Cleopatra and have sent from Miletus a man named 
John, who will raise ter up and restore her to you in good health.” Do not delay 
then, servant of God who has revealed you to me; come quickly to my wife, 
who is only just breathing. ’ Then John went at once, ate the brothers who were 
with him, ate Lycomedes, from the gate to his house. But Cleotnus said to his 
servants, ‘Go to my kinsman Callippus ate let him give you a comfortable lodging 
- for I am coming there with his son - so that we may find everything convenient. ’ 

20. But when Lycomedes came with John into the house in which the 
woman was lying, he grasped his feet again ate said ‘See, my Lord, this faded 
beauty; look at ter youth; look at the famous flowerf-like grace) of my poor 
wife, at which all Ephesus was amazed! Wretched man, I am the victim of 
envy. I am humbled, my enemies’ eye has fallen upon me! I have never 
wronged anyone, although I could have injured many, for I had just this in view 
ate was on my guard, so as not to see any evil or misfortune like this. What 
use then, Cleopatra, was my care? What have I gained by being known as a 
pious man until today? I suffer worse than an impious (man) seeing you, 
Cleopatra, lying there so. The sun in its course shall no more see me, if you *are 
no longer (my) companion* 3 I will go before you, Cleopatra, and despatch 
myself from life. I will not spare my vigorous health, though it be still youthful. 
I will defend myself before Justice, 4 as one that has served (her) justly, for it 
is permissible to indict her forjudging unjustly. I will call ter to account when 
I come (before her) a (mere) phantom of life. I will say to her “You have done 
violence to my light (of life) by tearing away Cleopatra; you have made me a 
dead man by bringing this upon me; you have forced me to anger Providence 
by cutting off my joy.”’ 

21. Ate Lycomedes still speaking to Cleopatra approached her bed ate 
lamented with a loud voice. 

But John pulled him away ate said, 'Cease from these lamentations ate 
from these unfitting words of yours. It is not proper to mistrust him who 
appeared to you. Know that you will receive your consort again. State then 
with us, who have come on her behalf, and pray to the God whom you saw 
manifesting me through dreams. What is it, then, Lycomedes? You too must 
wake up ate open your soul. Cast off this heavy sleep of yours! Call on the 
Lord, entreat him for your consort and he will revive her.’ But he fell upon the 
ground ate lamented with all his soul. 3 

John therefore said with tears, ‘Alas for the fresh betrayal of my vision! 
Alas for the fresh temptation that is prepared for me! Alas for the fresh 
contrivance of him that is contriving against me! The voice from heaven that 
came to me on the way, did it intend this for me? Did it forewarn me of this 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

that must happen here, * betraying* me to this great crowd of citizens because 
of Lycomedes? The man lies there lifeless, ami I know very well that they will 
not let me leave the house alive. Why tamest thou. Lord? Why hast thou 
withdrawn from us thy gracious promise? No, Lord, I pray thee; do not let him 
exult who delights in the misfortunes of others; do not let him dance who is 
always deriding us! But let thy holy name and thy mercy make haste! Raise up 
the two dead who (have brought enmity) against me!’ 

22. And while John was crying aloud the city of the Ephesians came 
running together to the house of Lycomedes, (supposing him) dead. But John, 
seeing the great crowd that had come together, said to the Lord, ‘Now is the 
time of refreshment 6 and of confidence in thee, O Christ Now is the time for 
us who are sick to have help from thee, O physican that healest for nothing. 
Keep thou my entrance to this place free from derision. 1 pray thee, Jesus, help 
this great multitude to come to thee who art Lord of the universe. Look at the 
affliction, look at those who lie here! Do thou prepare, even from those 
gathered here, holy vessels for thy service, when they have seen thy gracious 
gift For thou thyself hast said, O Christ, "Ask, and it shall be given you/' 7 We 
therefore ask of thee, O King, not gold or silver, not substance or possessions, 
nor any of the perishable things upon earth, but two souls, through whom thou 
shah convert cthose who shall believe> to thy way (and) to thy teaching, to thy 
confidence, to thine excellent promise; for some of them shall be saved when 
they learn thy power through the resurrection of (these) who are lifeless. So 
now thyself grant hope in thee. I am going, then, to Cleopatra and say, “Arise 
in the name of Jesus Christ.’” 

23. And he went to her and touched her face and said ‘Cleopatra, he speaks 
to thee, whom every niter fears, and every creature, power, abyss and all 
darkness, and unsmiling death, the height of heaven and the circles of hell, the 
resurrection of the dead and the sight of the blind, the whole power of the prince 
of this world and the pride of its ruler: Arise (he says), and be not an excuse 
for many who wish to disbelieve, and an affliction to souls that are able to hope 
and be saved.’ And Cleopatra cried out at once with a loud voice, ‘I wise. 
Master, save thou thy Cleopatra. ’ 

And when she had arisen after seven days, the city of the Ephesians was 
stirred at that amazing sight. 

But Cleopatra asked after her husband Lycomedes. But John said to her, 
‘Cleopatra, keep your soul unmoved and unwavering, and then you shall have 
Lycomedes your husband standing here with you, <... > if indeed you are not 
disturbed nor shaken by what has happened, but have come to believe in my 
God, who through me shall give him back to you) alive. Come then with me 
to your other bedroom, and you shall see him dead (indeed), but rising again 
through the power of my God.’ 24. Ami when Cleopatra came with John into 
her bedroom and saw Lycomedes dead cm her account she lost her voice, and 


The Acts of John 

ground her teeth and bit her tongue, and dosed her eyes, raining down tears; 
and she quietly attended to the Apostle. 

But John had pity upon Cleopatra when he saw her neither raging nor 
distraught, and called upon the perfect and condescending mercy, and said, 
‘Lord Jesus Christ, thou seest (her) distress, thou seest (her) need, thou seest 
Cleopatra crying out her soul in silence; for she contains within her the 
intolerable raging (of her sorrow). My soul foretells, Lord; I know that for 
Lycomedes’ sake she will follow him to death. ’ And she quietly said to John, 
‘Thu is in my mind, Master, and nothing else. ’ Then the Apostle went up to 
the couch on which Lycomedes lay, and taking Cleopatra’s hand he said, 
‘Cleopatra, because of the crowd that is present, and because of your relatives 
who have come here also, speak with a loud voice to your husband and say, 
“Rise up and glorify the name of God, since to the dead he gives (back) the 
dead.”’ And she went near and spoke to her husband as she was instructed, and 
immediately raised him up. And he arose and fell to the ground and kissed 
John’s feet; but he lifted him up and said ‘It is not my feet, man, that you should 
kiss, but those of God in whose power you both have been raised up.’ 

25. But Lycomedes said to John, ‘I beg and entreat you in God’s name 
through whom you raised us up, to stay with us, both you and your companions 
<...>.’ Likewise Cleopatra grasped his feet and said the same. But John said 
to them, ‘Tomorrow I will be with you.’ And they said to him again, ‘There 
is no hope for us in your God, but we shall have been raised in vain, if you do 
not stay with us. ’ And Cleobi us together with Aristodemus and also Demonicus 
in distress of soul said to John, ‘Let us stay with them, that they may stay free 
of offence before the Lord.’ And he remained there with the brethren. 

The Portrait of John 

26. Then there came together a great gathering of people because of John. 
And while he was addressing those who were present Lycomedes. who had a 
friend who was a skilful painter, went running to him and said, ‘You see how 
I have hurried to come to you: come quickly to my house and paint the man 
whom I show you without his knowing it’ And the painter, giving someone 
the necessary implements and colours, said to Lycomedes, ‘Show me the man 
and for the rest have no anxiety.’ Then Lycomedes pointed out John to the 
painter, and brought him near and shut him up in a room from which the 
Apostle of Christ could be seen. <And Lycomedes> was with the blessed man, 
feasting upon the faith and the knowledge of our God, and rejoiced even more 
because he was going to have him in a portrait. 

27. So (Mi the first day the painter drew his outline and went away; but on 
the next day he painted him in with his colours, and so delivered the portrait 
to Lycomedes, to his great joy ; and he <took it>, put it in his bedroom and put 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

garlands on it; so that when John later noticed (something), he said to him, ‘My 
dear child, what is it you are doing when you come from the bath into your 
bedroom alone? Am I not to pray with you and with the other brethren? Or are 
you hiding (something) from us? ’ And saying this and joking with him he went 
into the bedroom; and he saw there a portrait of an old man crowned with 
garlands, and lamps beside it and altars in front Aral he called him and said, 
‘Lycomedes, what does this portrait mean to you? Is it one of your gods that 
is painted here? Why, I see you are still living as a pagan! ’ And Lycomedes 
answered him ‘He alone is my God who raised me up from death with my wife. 
But if besides that God we may call our earthly benefactors gods, you are the 
one painted in the portrait, whom I crown and love and reverence, as having 
become a good guide to me.’ 

28. Then John, who had never beheld his own face, said to him, ‘You are 
teasing me, child; am I such in form? By your Lord, how can you persuade me 
that the portrait is like me?’ And Lycomedes brought him a mirror, and when 
he had seen himself in the minor and gazed at the portrait, he said,‘As the Lord 
Jesus Christ liveth, the portrait is like me; yet not like me, my child, but like 
my image in the flesh; for if this painter who has copied this face of mine wants 
to put me in a picture, *let him break away* <from> colours such as are given 
to me now,* from boards, from outline and drapery (?), from shape <and> form, 
from age and youth, and from all that is visible. 

29. But do you be a good painter for me, Lycomedes. You have colours 
which he gives you through me, that is, Jesus, who paints us all for himself, 
who knows the shapes and forms and figures and dispositions and types of our 
souls. And these are the colours which I tell you to paint with: faith in God, 
knowledge {gnosis ), reverence, kindness, fellowship, mildness, goodness, 
brotherly love, purity, sincerity, tranquillity, fearlessness, cheerfulness, dig¬ 
nity and the whole band of colours which portray your soul and already raise 
up your members that were cast down aid level those that were lifted up, <... > 
which cure your bruises and heal your wounds and arrange your tangled hair 
and wash your face and instruct your eyes and cleanse your heart and purge 
your belly and cut off that which is below it; in brief, when a full blend and 
mixture of such colours has come together into your soul it will present it to 
our Lord Jesus Christ indelible, well-polished and firmly shaped. But what you 
have now done is childish and imperfect; you have drawn a dead likeness of 
a dead man < ...>.’ 

Healing of the Old Women 

30. Then he commanded Verus, the brother who attended him, to bring the 
old women (that were) in the whole of Ephesus, and he and Cleopatra and 
Lycomedes made preparations to care for them. So Vents came and said to 


The Acts of John 

him: ‘John, out of the old women over sixty that are here, I have found only 
four in good bodily health; of the rest, some are paralytic, others deaf, some 
arthritic and others sick with divers diseases.’ And John on hearing this kept 
silence for a long time; then he rubbed his face and said, 'Oh, what slackness 
among the people of Ephesus! What a collapse, what weakness towards God! 
O devil, what a mockery you have made all this time of the faithful at Ephesus! 
Jesus, who gives me grace and the gift of confidence in him, says to me now 
in silence, “Send for the old women who are sick, and be with them in the 
theatre and through me heal them; for there are some of those who come to this 
spectacle whom I will convert through such healings as have been beneficial.’” 

31. Now when the whole crowd had come together to Lycomedes on John ’ s 
account, he dismissed them all, saying, ‘Come tomorrow into the theatre, all 
you who wish to see the power of God! ’ And on the next day the crowds came 
together into the theatre while it was still night, so that the proconsul heard of 
it and came quickly and took his seat with all the people. And a certain 
Andronicus who was praetor, and was the leading citizen of Ephesus at that 
time, spread the story that John had promised what was impossible and 
incredible. ‘But if he can do any such thing as I hear’, he said, ‘let him come 
naked into the public theatre, when it is open, holding nothing in his hands; 
neither let him name that magical name which I have heard him pronounce.’ 

32. So when John heard this and was disturbed by these words, he 
commanded the old women to be brought into the theatre. And when they were 
all brought into the midst, some lying on beds and others in a torpor, and when 
the city had come running together, a great silence ensued; then John opened 
his mouth and began to say, 

33. ‘Men of Ephesus, you must first know why I am visiting your city < . 
.. >, or what is this great confidence of mine towards you, 9 (which is) so great 
that it is evident to you all in this general assembly. I have been sent, then, on 
no human mission, nor on a useless journey; nor am I a merchant that makes 
bargains or exchanges; but Jesus Christ, whom I preach, in his mercy and 
goodness is converting you all, you who are held fast in unbelief and enslaved 
by shameful desires; and through me he wills to deliver you from your error, 
and by his power I will convict even your praetor ’ s disbelief, by raising up these 
women who are lying before you - you see what a state and what sicknesses 
they are in. And this is not possible for me now <... > if they ‘perish* (?) < 
... >, and will be removed by healings (?).’ 

34. But this I wish first to sow in your ears, that you take heed for your souls, 
which is the reason for my coming to you <...>. Do not expect that this time 
is eternal, which is (the time of) the yoke, nor lay up treasures on earth, where 
everything withers away <...>. Do not think, if children come to you, to rest 
in them; and do not try for their sakes to rob and to swindle. <... > Do not be 
grieved, you who are poor, if you have not (the means) to serve your pleasures; 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

for even those who have them, when they fall ill, pronounce (you) happy. And 
do not rejoice in possessing much wealth, you who are rich; for by possessing 
these things you provide for yourselves a constant distress if you lose them, and 
again *while you have them* you are afraid that someone may attack you 
because of them. 

35. But you who are proud of your handsome figure and give haughty 
looks, you shall see the end of this promise in the grave. And you who delight 
in adultery, be sure that law and nature alike take vengeance on you, and 
conscience before these. And you, adulterous woman, who rebel against the 
law, you know not where you will end. You who give nothing to the needy, 
although you have money put away, when you depart from this body and are 
burning in fire, begging for mercy, will have no one to pity you. And you, hot- 
tempered and savage man, be sure that you are living like the brute beasts. And 
you, drunkard and trouble-maker, must learn that you are out of your senses 
when you are enslaved to a shameful and filthy desire. 

36. You who delight in gold ami ivory and jewels, do you see your loved 
(possessions) when night comes on? And you who give way to soft clothing, 
and then depart from life, will these things be useful in the place where you are 
going? And *let* the murderer *know* that the punishment he has earned 
awaits him in double measure after he leaves this (world). So also the poisoner, 
sorcerer, robber, swindler, and sodomite, the thief and all of this band, guided 
by your deeds you shall come to unquenchable fire 10 and utter darkness and the 
pit of torments and eternal doom. So, men of Ephesus, change your ways; for 
you know this also, that kings, rulers, tyrants, boasters and warmongers shall 
go naked from this world and come to eternal misery and torment.’ 

So saying, John healed all (their) diseases through the power of God. 

The summary statement of the last sentence of c. 36 covers the disappearance of 
a considerable section. It must have concluded the story of the healing of the old 
women. Moreover a fairly lengthy narrative concerned with Drusiana and Andronicus 
can be inferred to have stood in this lost section. Andronicus is mentioned for the first 
time in c. 31, where he figures as an unbeliever, he appears next in c. 37, but now 
as a loyal disciple of John. The lost section, therefore, must have told of his 
conversion, and indeed in a fairly lengthy narrative, as a number of surviving 
indications show. A prayer by Drusiana in c. 82 contains some personal reminis¬ 
cences, including in what is evidently meant to be chronological order 1) Christ 
allowed her to see signs and wonders; 2) be made her a partaker of his name; 3) he 
revealed himself to her as one of many forms, and had mercy on her in manifold ways; 
4) he protected her from violence from her consort Andronicus; 5) be made the latter 
become a brother to her, 6) he has kept her pure since then; 7) he raised her from death 
through John; 8) he caused Callimachus to undergo a change of heart; 9) he gave to 
Drusiana the true rest. Points 6-9 in this list relate to the immediate context erf c. 82, 


The Acts of John 

the story of Drusiana and Callimachus (cc. 63-86), but points 1-3 must refer to 
something further back. Additional light falls on point 4 through a reference in c. 63. 
Callimachus, who is seeking to ensnare Drusiana in carnal love, is told by his friends: 
‘It is impossible for you to win this woman, for she has long ago separated even from 
her husband for the sake of piety. Are you the oily one who does not know that 
Andronicus, who formerly was not the god-fearing man he is now, shut her into a 
sepulchre, saying "Either I must have you as the wife whom I had before, or you must 
die!" And ... she chose to die, rather than commit that abominable act.’ This can 
be supplemented by three allusions in the Manichean Psalm-book which can be 
traced back to the Acts of John. In one of the 'Psalms of Heracleides’ it is said: ‘A 
[woman) that loves her master is Drusiana, the lover of God, shut up for fourteen days, 
seeking her apostle’, 11 and in one of the ‘pilgrim psalms’: ‘Even so the blessed 
Drusiana, she too endured the like, imprisoned fourteen days, like her master, her 
apostle’; 12 a few lines earlier it was said of John that he was ‘imprisoned fourteen 
days, that he might die of hunger ’. 11 Finally, the * preaching of the Gospel ’ in the Acts 
of John (cc. 87-103) starts with a narrative in which Drusiana says: ‘The Lord 
appeared to me in the tomb like John, and as a young man* (c. 87), a statement which 
cannot be related to the events in the Drusiana-Callimachus story, which also took 
place in a sepulchre, but can be linked very well with point 3 of the reminiscences 
in c. 82. Finally, at the close of the ‘preaching of the Gospel’ John speaks of God as 
the one who hears all. ‘and now also myself and Drusiana, being the God of those 
who are imprisoned' (c. 103). 

From this we may deduce the following narrative complex, no longer extant: 
impressed by John's preaching and its powerful signs, Drusiana is converted and 
turns herself completely to sexual continence, so that she denies herself to her 
husband Andronicus. He finally shuts her up in a sepulchre, in order to compel her 
to give up this vow of chastity or leave her to die, and evidently at the same time brings 
about the imprisonment of John also, with the intention of letting him starve to death. 
The deliverance of both is brought about in miraculous fashion, after Drusiana at least 
has experienced an appearance of Christ both in the form of the apostle and in that 
of a young man. The conversion of Andronicus appears to have taken place in the 
same context, and he now as Drusiana's ‘brother’ turns to a life of abstinence in the 
same way as she does.' 4 The ‘preaching of the Gospel', which twice refers back to 
this complex, was then attached directly to it. The numbering as cc. 87-105 comes 
from M. Bonnet's edition, in which it was erroneously placed after the Drusiana- 
Callimachus stoty (cc. 63-86). Despite the necessary alteration in the order of the 
text, this numbering has been preserved on practical grounds, as already in the third 
and fourth German editions of this work and the earlier editions of its English 
translation as well as in the Junod/Kaestli edition. 

John’s Preaching of the Gospel (cc. 87-105) 15 
Introduction to the Preaching 

87. Now those that were present enquired the cause, and were especially 
perplexed, because Drusiana had said, ‘The Lord appeared to me in the tomb 
like John and as a young man.' So since they were perplexed and in some ways 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

not yet established in the faith, John *took* it patiently and said, (88) ‘Men and 
brethren, you have experienced nothing strange a* incredible in your percep¬ 
tion of the <Lord>, since even we whom 1 m chose to be his apostles have 
suffered many temptations; and I cannot <either> speak or write to you the 
things which I have seen and heard. Yet now 1 must adapt myself to your 
hearing and according to each man’s capacity I will impart to you those things 
of which you can be hearers, that you may see the glory which surrounds him, 
which was and is both now and evermore. 

The Christ of many forms 

For when he had chosen Peter and Andrew, who were brothers, he came to 
me and to my brother James, saying “I need you; come to me!” 16 And my 
brother <when he heard> this said: “John, what does he want, this child on the 
shore who called us?” And I said, “Which child?” And he answered me, “The 
one who is beckoning to us.” And I replied: “Because of the long watch we have 
kept at sea, you are not seeing well, brother James. Do you not see the man 
standing there who is handsome, fair and cheerful-looking?” But he said to me, 
“I do not see that man, my brother. But let us go, and we shall see what this 
means.’ And when we had brought the boat *to land* we saw how he also 
helped us to beach the boat. 89. And as we left the place, wishing to follow him, 
he appeared to me again as rather bald-<headed> but with a thick flowing 
beard, but to James as a young man whose beard was just beginning. So we 
were both puzzled about the meaning of what we had seen. Then as we 
followed him we became gradually <more> perplexed as we considered the matter. 

But then there appeared to me a yet more amazing sight; I tried to see him 
as he was, and I never saw his eyes closing, but always open. But he sometimes 
appeared to me as a small man with no good looks, and also as wholly looking 
up to heaven (?). And he had another strange (property); when I reclined at table 
he would take me to his breast, 17 and I held <him> to me; and sometimes his 
breast felt to me smooth and soft, but sometimes hard like rock; so that I was 
perplexed in my (mind) and said: “What does <*> this mean?” And as I thought 
about it, he ... 

90. Another time he took me and James and Peter to the mountain where 
he used to pray, and we saw <on> him a light 11 such that a man who uses mortal 
speech cannot describe what it was like. Again he took us three likewise up the 
mountain, saying “Come with me.” And again we went; and we saw him at a 
distance praying. Then I, since 1 m loved me, 19 went quietly up to him, as if he 
[.] could not see, and stood looking [.] at his hinder parts; and I saw him not 
dressed in clothes at all, but stripped of those <which> we (usually) saw (upon 
him), and not like a man at all. (Aral I saw that) his feet [.] were whiter than 
snow, so that the ground there was lit up by his feet; and that his head stretched 


The Acts of John 

up to heaven, so that I was afraid and cried out; and he, turning about, appeared 
as a small man and caught hold of my beard and pulled it and said to me, “John, 
do not be faithless, but believing, 20 and not inquisitive.” And I said to him, 
“Why, Lord, what have I done?” B ut I tell y ou, my brethren, that I suffered such 
pain for thirty days in the place where he touched my beard, that I said to him, 
“Lord, if your playful tug has caused such pain, what (would it be) if you had 
dealt me a blow?” And he said to me, “Let it be your (concern) from now on 
not to tempt him that cannot be tempted.” 

91. But Peter and James were vexed as I spoke with the Lord, and beckoned 
me to come to them, leaving the Lord alone. And 1 went, and they both said 
to me “The old man who spoke with the Lord on the (mountain-) top, who was 
he? For we heard them both speaking.” And when I considered his abundant 
grace and his unity within many faces and his unceasing wisdom that looks 
after us, I said, “You shall learn this from him if you ask him.” 

92. And again when we - that is, all his disciples - were sleeping in one house 
at Gennesaret, I wrapped myself in my cloak and watched by myself (to see) 
what he was doing. And first I heard him say, “John, go to sleep.” Then I 
pretended to sleep; and I saw another like him [.], and I heard him also saying 
to my Lord, “Jesus, the men you have chosen still disbelieve you.” And my 
Lord said to him, “You are right; for they are men.” 

93.1 will tell you another glory, brethren; sometimes when I meant to touch 
him I encountered a material, solid body; but at other times again when I felt 
him, his substance was immaterial and incorporeal, and as if it did not exist at all. 

And if ever he were invited by one of the Pharisees and went (where) he was 
invited, 21 we went with him; and each one of us received one appointed loaf 
from those who invited us, and he also would take one; but he would bless his 
and divide it among us; and every man was satisfied by that little (piece), 22 and our 
own loaves were kept intact, so that those who had invited him were amazed. 

And I often wished, as I walked with him, to see if his footprint appeared 
on the ground - for I saw him raising himself from the earth - and I never saw 
it. And (the following) too I tell you, my brethren, so as to encourage your faith 
in him - for his miracles and wonderful works must not be told for the moment, 
for they are unspeakable and, perhaps, can neither be uttered nor heard: 

The Hymn of Christ 23 

94. Before he was arrested 24 by the lawless Jews, whose lawgiver is the 
lawless serpent, he assembled us all and said, “Before I am delivered to them, 23 
let us sing a hymn to the Father, and so go to meet 26 what lies before (us).” So 
he told us to form a circle, holding one another’s hands, and himself stood in 
the middle and said, “Answer Amen to me.” So he began to sing a hymn and 
to say, 27 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

“Glory be to thee. Father.” 

And we circled round him and answered him, “Amen.” 
“Glory be to thee, Logos: 

Glory be to thee, Grace.” - “Amen.” 

“Glory be to thee. Spirit: 

Glory be to thee. Holy One: 

Glory be to thy Glory.” - “Amen.” 

“We praise thee, Father 
We thank thee. Light: 

In whom darkness dwelleth not.” 2 * - “Amen.” 

“And why we give thanks, I tell you: 

“I will be saved, 2 ** 

And I will save.” - “Amen.” 

“I will be loosed. 

And I will loose.” - “Amen.” 

“I will be wounded, 

And I will wound." - “Amen.” 

“I will be bom. 

And I will bear.” - “Amen.” 

“I will cat. 

And I will be eaten.” - “Amen." 

“I will hear. 

And I will be heard." - “Amen.” 

“I will be thought. 

Being wholly thought.” - “Amen.” 

“I will be washed. 

And I will wash.” - “Amen." 

Grace dances. 

“I will pipe. 

Dance, all of you." - "Amen.” 

“I will mourn. 

Beat you all your breasts (x&rceoQcu) 29 - “Amen”. 
“(The) one Ogdoad 

sings praises with us.” - “Amen.” 

"The twelfth number 

dances on high.” - “Amen." 

“To the All 

it belongs to dance in the height(?)” - “Amen.” 
“He who does not dance 

does not know what happens.” - “Amen.” 


The Acts of John 

“I will flee, 

and I will remain.” - “Amen.” 

“I will adorn (xoopeiv), 

and I will be adorned.” - “Amen.” 

“I will be united, 

and I will unite.” - “Amen." 

“I have no house, 

and I have houses." - “Amen.” 

“I have no place, 

and I have places.” - “Amen.” 

“I have no temple 

and I have temples." - “Amen.” 

“I am a lamp to you (sing.) 
who see me.” - "Amen.” 

“I am a mirror to you 

who know me.” - "Amen.” 

“I am a door 50 to you 

<who> knock on me.” - “Amen.” 

“I am a way 31 to you 

<the> traveller.” - “Amen.” 

Now if you follow 
my dance, 
see yourself 

in Me who am speaking, 
and when you have seen what I do, 
keep silence about my mysteries. 

You who dance, consider 
what I do, for yours is 
this passion of Man 
which I am to suffer. 

For you could by no means 

have understood what you suffer 
unless to you as Logos 

I had been sent by the Father. 

You who saw what I do 
saw (me) as suffering, 
and seeing it you did not stay 
but were wholly moved. 

Being moved towards wisdom (?) 
you have me as a support (lit. couch); 
rest in me. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Who I am, you shall know 
when I go forth. 

What I now am seen to be, 
that I am not; 

What I am you shall see 
when you come. 

If you knew how to suffer 

you would be able not to suffer. 

Leam how to suffer 

and you shall be able not to suffer 
What you do not know 
I myself will teach you. 

I am your God, 

not (the God) of the traitor. 

I will that holy souls 

be made in harmony with me. 

Understand the word 
of wisdom! 

Say again to me. 

Glory be to thee, Father 
Glory be to thee. Logos, 

Glory be to thee, [.] Spirit.” - “Amen.” 

“As for me, 

♦if you would* understand *what I was*: 

By the Logos I [.] made a jest (ticu^bv) of everything 
and was not *made a jest*” at all. 

I exulted: (lit. leaped) 

but do you understand the whole, 
and when you have understood it, say, 

Glory be to thee. Father." - “Amen.” 

Revelation of the Mystery of the Cross 

97. After the Lord had so danced with us, my beloved, he went out And 
we, like men amazed or fast asleep, fled one this way ami another that. And so 
I saw him suffer, and did not wait by his suffering, but fled to the Mount of 
Olives and wept at what had come to pass. And when he was hung (upon the 
Cross) on the Friday 33 at the sixth hour of the day, 34 there came a darkness over 
the whole earth. 33 And my Lord stood in the middle of the cave and giving light 
to me said: “John, for the people below in Jerusalem I am being crucified and 
pierced with lances ami reeds 36 and given vinegar and gall to drink. 37 But to you 
I am speaking, and listen to what I speak. 3 * I put into your mind to come up to 


The Acts of John 

this mountain so that you may hear what a disciple should learn from his 
teacher and a man from God.” 

98. *And when he had said this he showed me a Cross of Light brought to 
a fixed shape, and around the Cross a great crowd, which had no single form; 
and in it (the Cross) was one form and the same likeness. And I saw the Lord 
himself above the Cross, having no shape but only a kind of voice; yet not that 
voice which we knew, but one that was sweet and gentle and truly (the voice) 
of God, which said to me, “John, there must (be) one man (to) hear these things 
from me; for I need one who is ready to hear. This Cross of Light is sometimes 
called Logos 40 by me for your sakes, sometimes mind, sometimes Christ, 
sometimes a door, 41 sometimes a way, 42 sometimes bread, 43 sometimes seed, 44 
sometimes resurrection, 45 sometimes Son, sometimes Father, sometimes 
Spirit, sometimes life, 46 sometimes truth, 47 sometimes faith, sometimes 
grace; 41 and so (it is called) for men's sake. 

But what it truly is, as known in itself and spoken to you, (is this): it is the 
the delimitation of all things and the strong uplifting of what is firmly fixed out 
of what is unstable, and the harmony of wisdom. Now when wisdom is in 
harmony, there are those of the right and of the left, powers, authorities, 
principalities [and] demons, activities, threatenings, passions, calumnies, Satan 
and the inferior root from which <the> nature of transient things proceeded. 

99. This Cross then, which has made all things stable through the Logos and 
separated off what is transitory and inferior, and then has poured itself (?) into 
everything, is not that wooden Cross which you will see when you go down 
from here; nor am I the (man) who is on the Cross, (I) whom now you do not 
see but only hear (my) voice. I was taken to be what I am not, I who am not 
what for the many I am; but what they will say of me is mean and unworthy 
of me. Since then the place of rest is neither (to be) seen nor told, much more 
shall I, the Lord of this (place), be neither seen <nor told>. 

100. The multitude around the Cross that is <not> of one form is the inferior 
nature. As for those whom you see in the Cross, if they do not have a single 
form, not every member of him who came down has yet been gathered 
together. But when human nature is taken up, and the race that comes to me 
and obeys 49 my voice, then he who now hears me shall be united with it and 
shall no longer be what he now is, but (shall be) above *them*(?) as I am now. 
For so long as you do not call yourself mine, 1 am not what 1 was; but if you 
hear me, you also who hear shall be as I am, ami I shall be what I was, when 
[... ]. Therefore ignore the many and despise those who arc outside the mystery; 
for you must know that I am wholly with the Father, and the Father with me. 50 

101. So then I have suffered none of those things which they will say of me; 
even that suffering which I showed to you and to the rest in my dance, I will 
that it be called a mystery. For what you are you see, I have shown it to you; 
but what I am is known to me alone and to no one else. So let me have what 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

is mine; what is yours you must see through me; but to see me truly is, as I said, 
not possible, except for what you are able to know, being a kinsman. You hear 
that I suffered, yet I suffered not; and that I suffered not, yet I did suffer, and 
that I was pierced, 51 yet I was not lasted; that I was hanged, yet I was not 
hanged; that blood flowed from me,” yet it did not flow; and, in a word, that 
what they say of me, I did not endure, but what they do not say, those things 
I did suffer. Now what these are, I secretly show you; for 1 know that you will 
understand. You must know me, then, as the ‘torment* of the Logos, the 
piercing of the Logos, the blood of the Logos, the wounding of the Logos, the 
hanging of the Logos, the suffering of the Logos, the fastening of the Logos, 
the death of the Logos. And so I speak, having made room for the man. The 
first then (that) you must know (is) the Logos; then you shall know the Lord, 
and thirdly the man, and what he has suffered." 

102. When he had said these things to me, and others which I know not how 
to say as he wills, he was taken up, 53 without any of the multitude seeing him. 
And going down I laughed at them all when they told me what they had said 
about him; and I held this one thing fast in my (mind), that the Lord had 
performed everything as a symbol and a dispensation for the conversion and 
salvation of man. 

Concluding Admonitions 

103. Now, my brothers, since we have seen the grace of the Lord and his 
affection towards us, let us worship him, since we have obtained mercy from 
him; not with (our) fingers, nor with (our) mouths nor with (our) tongue nor 
with any bodily organ at all, but with the disposition of our soul [...]. And 
let us watch, since he is at hand even now in prisons for our sakes, and in tombs, 
in bonds and dungeons, in reproaches and insults, by sea and on dry land, in 
torments, condemnations, conspiracies, plots and punishments; in a word, he 
is with all of us, and with the sufferers he suffers himself. Brethren, if he is 
called upon by any of us he does not hold out against hearing us, but being 
everywhere he hears us all, and now also myself and Drusiana, being the God 
of those who are imprisoned, ‘bringing* us help through his own compassion. 

104. You therefore, beloved, (must) also be persuaded, that it is not a man 
that I exhort you to worship, but God unchangeable, God invincible, God who 
is higher than all authority and all power and older and stronger than all angels 
and (all) that are called (*) creatures ate all aeons. So if you hold fast to this 
ate are built up in this, you shall possess your soul indestructible.’ 

105. Ate when John had delivered these things to the brethren, he went out 
with Andronicus to walk. Ate Drusiana followed at a distance with all <the 
brethren> to see the things performed by him and to hear his word at all times 
in the Lord. 54 


The Acts of John 

Between c. 105 and c. 37 there is a gap the extent and content of which cannot 
be determined. Junod/Kaestli (91 f.) think that the narratives of which the Oxyrhynchus 
Papyrus 850 has preserved remains (see above, p. 157f.), and possibly also the 
episode known from the Irish John story, the transformation of hay into gold (see 
above p. 161), could have had their place here. But the latter could be assigned at least 
as well to the travel report which has disappeared between c. 57 and c. 58. 

Destruction of the Temple of Artemis and Conversion of the Ephesians 

37. Now the brothers from Miletus said to John, ‘We have remained a long 
time in Ephesus; if you agree, let us go to Smyrna. For already we hear that the 
great works of God have arrived there also.’ And Andronicus said to them, 
‘When our teacher wishes, then let us go.’ But John said, ‘Let us first go into 
the Temple of Artemis; for perhaps if we are seen (there), the servants of the 
Lord will be found there also.’ 

38. Now two days later there was the dedication-festival of the idol-temple. 
So while everyone was wearing white, John alone put on black clothing and 
went up to the temple;” and they seized him and tried to kill him. But John said, 
‘You are mad to lay hands on me, men, a servant of the only God.’ And he went 
up on a high platform, and said to them, 

39. ‘Men of Ephesus, you are liable to behave like the sea; every river at its 
outfall, every spring that flows down, the rains and incessant waves and stony 
torrents, are all made salt by the bitter brine that is in it You likewise have 
remained to this day unchanged (in your attitude) towards the true religion, and 
are being corrupted by your ancient rituals. How many miracles (and) cures of 
diseases have you seen (performed) through me? And yet you are blinded in 
your hearts, and cannot recover your sight. What is it then, men of Ephesus? 
I have ventured to come up now into this very idol-temple of yours. I will 
convict you of being utterly godless and dead as regards human reasoning. See, 
here I stand. You all say that you have Artemis as your goddess [.]; pray to her, 
then, that L and I alone, may die; or if you cannot do this, then I alone will call 
upon my own God and because of your unbelief I will put you all to death.’ 

40. But since they had long experience of him and had seen dead men raised 
(by him), they cried out, ‘Do not destroy us like that, we implore you, John; 
we know that you can do it! ’ And John said to them, ‘ If you do not wish to die, 
then your religion must be convicted; and why convicted? - so that you may 
abandon your ancient error. For now is the time! Either you must be converted 
by my God, or I myself will die at the hands of your goddess; for I will pray 
in your presence and entreat my God that you may find mercy.’ 


XV. Second and Thud Century Acts of Apostles 

41. So saying he uttered this prayer: ‘O God, who art God above all that are 
called gods; yet rejected till this day in the city of the Ephesians; who didst put 
me in mind to come to this place, of which I never thought; who dost convict 
every form of worship, by converting (men) to thee; at whose name every idol 
takes flight, and every demon, <every> power and every unclean nature; now 
let the demon that is here take flight at thy name, the deceiver of this great 
multitude; and show thy mercy in this place, for they have been led astray.” 

42. And while John was saying this, of a sudden the altar of Artemis split 
into many pieces, and all the offerings laid up in the temple suddenly fell to the 
floor and *its glory* 16 was shattered, ami so were more than seven images; and 
half the temple fell down, so that the priest was killed at one stroke as *the 
pillar* 37 came down. Then the assembled Ephesians cried out, ‘(There is but) 
one God, (the God) of John!. (There is but) one God who has mercy upon us; 
for thou alone art God! We are converted, now that we have seen thy 
marvellous works! Have mercy upon us, O God, according to thy will, and save 
us horn our great error! ’ And some of them lay on their faces and marie supplication, 
others bent their knees and prayed; some tore their clothes and wept, and others tried 
to take flight. 

43. But John stretched out his hands and with uplifted heart said to the Lord, 
‘Glory be to thee, my Jesus, the only God of truth, for thou dost gain thy 
servants by elaborate means.' And having said this he said to the people, ‘Rise 
up from the ground, men of Ephesus, and pray to my God. and acknowledge 
his invisible power that is openly seen, and the wonderful works that were done 
before your eyes. Artemis should have helped herself; her servant should have 
been helped by her, and not have died. Where is the power of the demon (i.e. 
the goddess)? Where are her sacrifices? Where are her dedication-festivals? - 
her feasts? - her garlands? Where is all that sorcery and the witchcraft that is 
sister to it?’ 

44. And the people rising from the ground went running and threw down 
the rest of the idol temple, crying out, ‘The God of John (is the) only (God) we 
know; from now on we worship him, since he has had mercy upon us!’ And 
as John came down from that place a great crowd took hold of him, saying, 
‘Help us, John; stand by us, for we perish in vain. You see our purpose; you 
see the people following after you, hanging in hope upon your God. We have 
seen the way which we followed in error (as a false way), * since we have lost 
(him)*; we have seen that our gods were set up in vain; we have seen their great 
and shameful derision. But let us, we beg you, come to your house and receive 
help without hindrance. Accept us, for we are desperate!’ 

45. But John said to them, 'Friends, you must believe that it was on your 
account that I remained at Ephesus, although I was eager to go to Smyrna and 
the other cities, that the servants of Christ who are there may be converted to 
him. But since I would have departed without being fully at ease about you. 

The Acts of John 

I have waited, praying to my God, and asked him that I should leave Ephesus 
(only) when I have confirmed you (in the faith); and now 1 see that this has 
happened, and indeed is still happening, I will not leave you until I have 
weaned you like children from the nurse’s milk and set you upon a solid rock.’ 

Raising of the Priest of Artemis 

46. So John remained with them and received them [.] in the house of 
Andronicus. And one of those who were assembled there laid down the dead 
body of the priest of Artemis before the door [.], for he was his kinsman, and 
came in quickly with the rest, telling no one. Therefore, John, after he had 
addressed the brethren, and after the prayer and the thanksgiving (eucharist), 
and [.] when he had laid hands on each of those who were assembled, said in 
the Spirit, “One of those present, led to this house by faith in God, has laid down 
the priest of Artemis before the door and has come in; <and> in the longing of 
his soul he has put the concern for himself first, reasoning thus with himself; 
“It is better that I should take thought for the living than for my dead kinsman; 
for I know that if I turn to the Lord and save my own soul, John will not refuse 
even to raise up the dead.’” And John rising from <his> place went where the 
priest’s kinsman, who had thought this, came in; and he took him by the hand, 
and said, ‘Had you these thoughts when you came in to me, my son?’ And he, 
overcome with trembling and fright, said, ‘Yes, my Lord’, and threw himself 
at his feet. And John (said), ‘Our Lord is Jesus Christ, and he will show his 
power on your dead kinsman by raising him again. ’ 

47. And he made the young man rise and took his hand and said, ‘It is no 
great matter for a man who has power over great mysteries to be still concerned 
with small things. Or is it any great matter if bodily sicknesses are cured?...’ 
And still holding the young man by the hand he said, ‘I tell you, my son, go 
and raise up the dead man yourself, saying nothing but only this: “John, the 
servant of God, says to you. Arise!"’ And the young man went to his kinsman 
and said just this, while a great crowd of people were with him, and came in 
to John bringing him alive. 

And when John saw the man who was raised up, he said, ‘Now that you 
have risen, you are not really living, nor are you a partner and heir to the true 
life; will you belong to him by whose name and power you were raised up? So 
now, believe, and you shall live for all eternity. ’ And then and there he believed 
on the Lord Jesus, and from that time kept company with John. 

Conversion of a Parricide 

48. On the next day John saw in a dream that he was to walk three miles 
outside the gates, and he did not ignore it, but rose up at dawn and started with 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

the brothers along the road. And (there was) a countryman who was warned 
by his father not to take to himself the wife of his fellow-labourer, since he 
threatened to kill him; (but) the young man could not put up with his father’s 
warning, but kicked him and left him speechless. But when John saw what had 
happened, he said to the Lord, ‘Lord, was it because of this that you told me 
to come here today?’ 

49. But the young man, seeing (his) sudden death and fearing arrest, took 
out the sickle that was in his belt and began running towards his cottage; but 
John met him and said, ‘Stand still, you ruthless demon, and tell me where you 
are running with (that) bloodthirsty sickle.’ And the young man in his 
confusion let his weapon fall to the ground and said to him, ‘I have committed 
a monstrous and inhuman act, and know that I will be arrested, so I resolved 
to do something worse and more cruel to myself, ami to die at once. My father 
was always urging me to live a chaste and honourable life, yet I could not put 
up with his reproofs, but kicked him to death. And when I saw what had 
happened I was hurrying to the woman for whom I murdered my father, and 
I meant to kill her and her husband and last of all myself. I could not bear the 
woman’s husband to see me suffer the death-penalty.’ 

50. Then John said to him, ‘ I will not go away and leave you in danger, or 
1 shall give place to him who would laugh and scoff at you. No, come with me 
and show me where your father is lying. And if I raise him up for you, will you 
keep away from the woman who has become (so) dangerous to you?’ And the 
young man said, ‘ If you raise me up my father himself alive and I see him whole 
and “^continuing* (?) in life, I will keep away (from her) in future.’ 

51. And as he said this, they came to the place where the old man lay dead, 
and there were a number of passers-by standing by the place. And John said 
to the young man, ‘You wretch, did you not even spare your father’s old age?’ 
But he wept and tore his hair and said he was sorry for it And John the servant 
of the Lord said, ‘(Lord,) who didst show me today that I was to come to this 
place, who knewest that this would happen, whom nothing that is done in this 
life can escape, who dost grant me every (kind of) cure and healing by thy will; 
grant even now that this old man may live, seeing that his murderer has become 
his own judge. And do thou alone, Lord, spare him, though he did not spare 
his father, who gave him counsel for the best.’ 

52. With these words he went to the old man and said, ‘My Lord will not 
be slack to extend his good pity and his condescending heart even to you; rise 
up and give glory to God for the timely miracle.' 51 And the old man said, ‘I 
arise, my Lord.' And he arose. Ami seating himself he said, ‘I was released 
from a terrible life (in which) I suffered many grievous insults from my son, 
and his lack of affection, and you called me back, servant (lit. man) of the living 
God - for what purpose?’ <And John answered him, ‘If> you are arising to this 
same (life), you should rather be dead; but rouse yourself to a better (one)! ’ And 


The Acts of John 

he took him and brought him into the city and proclaimed the grace of God to 
him, so that before they reached the gate the old man believed. 

53. But when the young man saw the unexpected resurrection of his father 
and his own deliverance, he took <the> sickle and took off his private parts; 
and he ran to the house where he kept his adulteress and threw them down 
before her, and said, ’For your sake I became my father’s murderer, and of you 
two, and of myself. There you have the pattern and cause of this! As for me, 
God has had mercy on me and shown me his power.' 

54. And he went and told John before the brethren what he had done. But 
John said to him, 4 Young man, the one who tempted you to kill your father and 
commit adultery with another man’s wife, he has also made you take off the 
unruly (members) as if this were a virtuous act But you should not have 
destroyed the place (of your temptation), but the thought which showed its 
temper through those members; for it is not those organs which are harmful to 
man, but the unseen springs through which every shameful emotion is stirred 
up and comes to light So, my son, if you repent of this fault and recognise the 
devices of Satan, you have God to help you in everything that your soul 
requires. ’ And the young man kept quiet repenting of his former sins that he might 
obtain pardon from the goodness of God; and he would not separate from John. 

The Call to Smyrna 

55. Now while he was doing these things in the city of the Ephesians, the 
people of Smyrna sent messengers to him, saying, ‘We hear that the God whom 
you preach is bountiful, and has charged you not to show favour by staying in 
one place. Since then you are the preacher of such a God, come over to Smyrna 
and to the other cities, so that we may come to know of your God and knowing 
him may set our hopes on him.' 

Travel report (cc56-61) 

While c. 55 reports the urgent call which reached John from Smyrna, the episode 
in c. 56f., transmitted without any connection with other passages from the ancient Acts 
of John, leads to the beginning erf his stay in Smyrna. Accordingly an intervening passage 
is missing, which must have narrated at least the departure from Ephesus to Smyrna. 

Healing of the sons of Antipatros 

56. So departing from Ephesus we came to the city of Smyrna. The whole 
city came together on learning that John was there; and a man named 
Antipatros, prominent among the Smymeans, came up to John saying: 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

‘Servant of God, I hear that you have done many good deeds and great miracles 
in Ephesus. Look, I give you ten thousand gold pieces. I have two twin sons 
who at the moment of their birth were smitten by a demon, and to this day suffer 
terribly - they are now thirty-four years old. In one hour they both collapse, at 
one time seized in the bath, at another while walking, often again at table, and 
sometimes again in the public assembly of the city. You will see yourself that 
they are men of goodly size, but wasted by the illness that comes upon them 
every day. I beg you, help my old age. For I am considering imposing a resolve 
upon myself; when they were babes, they suffered in moderation, but now that 
they are grown men they have attracted demons also more full-grown. So have 
pity on me and cm them.’ John said to him: ‘My physician takes no reward in 
money, but when he heals for nothing he reaps the souls of those who are 
healed, in exchange for the diseases. What then are you willing (to give), 
Antipatros, in exchange for your children? Offer your own soul to God, and 
you shall have your children healthy by the power of Christ.’ And Antipatros 
said: ‘No one have you overlooked until now, do not (neglect) my sons. For 
<with the consent> of all my kinsfolk I am of a mind, because of the derision 
(we have experienced), to put them to death by poison. But do you who come 
as a faithful physician, appointed for them by God, shine upon them and help 
them. ’ 57. Thus entreated, John said to the Lord: ‘Thou who dost ever comfort 
the humble 39 and art called to aid, who dost never ♦need* 40 to be summoned, 
for you are yourself present before we begin, let the unclean spirits be driven 
out from the sons of Antipatros! ’ And immediately they came out from them. 
But John ordered that the young men should come; and when their father saw 
them in good health he fell down and did obeisance to John. [And after 
instructing them in the things concerning the Father and the Son and the Holy 
Spirit, he baptised them]. 61 And John enjoined Antipatros to give money to 
those who were in need and sent them away praising and blessing God. 

Between c. 57 and c. 58 a fairly long account of a journey by the apostle through 
various cities of the province of Asia must be missing. In c. 55 he is called not only 
to Smyrna but also ‘to the other cities’, and according to the superscription handed 
down ate. 58 he begins his return journey to Ephesus from Laodicea. The sequence 
of the stopping-places, Ephesus, Smyrna ... and Laodicea, may suggest the 
conjecture that it was a matter of a report of a journey through the seven churches 
of the Apocalypse of John (Rev. 1:11; 2f.).“ It is also not out of the question that the 
episode of the transforming of hay into gold, transmitted by the Irish John-story (see 
above, p. 161), belonged to this travel narrative. Finally, among the persons named 
in c. 59 Aristobula, who according to the Manichean Psalm-book appears to have 
played an important role in the Acts of John (see above, p. 89), Aristippus, Xenophon 
and the ‘virtuous prostitute’ must have been introduced in this report. 


The Acts of John 

Departure for Ephesus 

(Two manuscripts have the heading: From Laodicea to Ephesus the second 

58. Now when some considerable time had gone by, and noire of the 
brethren had ever been distressed by John, they were distressed at that time 
because he had said, ‘Brethren, it is now time for me to go to Ephesus; for so 
I have agreed with those who live there, so that they do not grow slack through 
having no one to encourage them all this time; and you all must set your minds 
upon God, who does not desert us. ’ When the brethren heard this from him they 
were grieved, because he was parting from them. But John said, ‘Even if I am 
parting from you, yet Christ Jesus is with you always; and if you love him purely, 
you shall possess continually the fellowship (that comes) from him; for where he 
is loved, he first (loves) those who love him.’ 59. And when he had said this and 
bidden farewell to them, and had left large sums of money with the brethren for 
distribution, he set out for Ephesus, to all the brethren’s grief and lamentation. 

Now there were with him those who were also with him on his journey from 
Ephesus, Andronicus and Drusiana and the household of Lycomedes and of 
Cleobius. Also there followed him Aristobula, who had learnt that her husband 
Tertullus had died on the way, 63 and Aristippus together with Xenophon, and 
the virtuous prostitute and several others, whom he continually charged to 
(follow) the Lord Jesus Christ and who would not be parted from him. 

The Obedient Bugs 

60. And on the first day we arrived at a lonely inn; and while we were trying 
to find a bed for John we saw a curious thing. There was one bed there lying 
somewhere not made up; so we spread the cloaks which we were wearing over 
it, and begged him to lie down on it and take his ease, while all the rest of us 
slept on the floor. But when he lay down he was troubled by the numerous bugs; 
and as they became more and more troublesome to him, and it was already midnight, 
he said to them in the hearing of us all, ‘I tell you, you bugs, to behave yourselves, 
one and all; you must leave your home for tonight and be quiet in one place and keep 
your distance from die servants of God.’ And while we laughed and went on talking, 
John went to sleep; but we talked quiedy and did not disturb him. 

61. Now as the day was breaking I got up first, and Verus and Andronicus 
with me; and we saw by the door of the room a mass of bugs collected; and as 
we were astounded at the great number of them, and all the brethren had woken 
up because of them, John went on sleeping. And when he woke up we 
explained to him what we had seen. And he sat up in the bed and looked at them 
and said to the bugs ‘Since you have behaved yourselves and avoided my 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

punishment go (back) to your own place. ’ And when he had said this and had 
got up from the bed, the bugs came running from the door towards die bed and 
climbed up its legs and disappeared into the joints. Then John said again, ‘This 
creature listened to a man’s voice ami kept to itself and was quiet and obedient; 
but we who hear the voice of God disobey his commandments and are 
irresponsible; how long will this go on?' 

Second Stay in Ephesus (cc. 62-86,105-115) 

Arrival in Ephesus 

62. After this we came to Ephesus; and the brethren in that place, learning 
that John had arrived after all this time, came running to the house of 
Andronicus, where he was staying, and grasped his feet and laid his hands on 
their faces and kissed them. And they stretched out their own hands and kissed 
them, if they touched *<him>*, because they had at least touched his clothes. 

Drusiana and Callimachus'* 

63. And while great love and unsurpassed joy prevailed among the 
brethren, a certain man, an emissary of Satan, fell in love with Drusiana when 
he saw her, although he knew that she was the wife of Andronicus. And several 
people said to him, ‘ It is impossible for you to win this woman, for she has long 
ago separated even from her husband for the sake of piety. Are you the only 
one who does not know that Andronicus, who formerly was not the god-fearing 
man he is now, shut her into a sepulchre, saying “Either I must have you as the 
wife whom I had before, or you must die! ” And she chose to die and not to share 
with him his ample wealth; she chose to be put to death rather than commit that 
abominable act. If then she would not consent to union with her lord and 
husband, but even persuaded him to be of the same mind as herself, will she 
agree with you who wish to become her lover? Leave off (this) madness, which 
has no rest in you! Leave off (this) project which you cannot fulfil! Why do you 
inflame your desire, thinking you can do what you venture?’ 

64. But his intimate friends could not persuade him with these words, but 
he had the effrontery to send to her. And having abandoned his attempts on her, 
lest he should be exposed to many an insult, he spent his life in despair. After 
two days Drusiana took to her bed with a fever resulting from despondency, 
saying: ‘I wish I had never come to my native town, that I might not have 
become a stumbling-block to a man uninstructed in religion! If he were a man 
♦filled with <God’s> word*, he would not have come to such a pitch of 
wantonness. So, Lord, since I have been partly to blame for the wounding of 
an ignorant soul, release me from this bondage and remove me to thee at once! ’ 


The Acts of John 

And in the presence of John, though he was not fully aware of (the truth of) the 
matter, Drusiana departed this life, having no joy at all but rather distress 
because of the spiritual hurt of that man. 

65. But Andronicus, troubled with secret sorrow, grieved in his heart and 
also lamented openly, so that John often quietened him and said to him, 
‘Drusiana has gone to a better hope out of this unjust life.' And Andronicus 
answered him, ‘Yes, I am convinced (of it), Father John, and have no doubt 
about faith in my God; and above all I insist that she departed this life in purity. ’ 

66. And when she was brought out (for burying), John took hold of Andronicus; 
and when he had learned the reason (for what had happened), he grieved (even) more 
than Andronicus; and he kept quiet, troubled by the machinations of the adversary, 
and sat (still) for a little. Then, when the brothers had collected to hear what speech 
he would make about the departed, he began to say, 

67. ‘When the pilot in his voyage, together with the sailors and the ship 
herself, arrives in a calm and sheltered haven, then he may say that he is safe. 
And the farmer who has laid the seed in the earth and has laboured long to 
cultivate and guard it, may rest from his labours only when he lays up the seed 
increased many times in his storehouses. The man who enters for a race in the 
arena should triumph only when he brings back the prize. The man who puts 
in for a boxing-match should boast only when he gets his crowns. And (so are) 
all such contests and skills (acknowledged) when they do not fail in the end, 
but prove to be equal to what they promised. 

68. The same I think is the case with the faith which each one of us practises; 
its truth is decided when it persists unaltered even to the end of life. For many 
hindrances assail and cause disturbances to the thoughts of men: anxiety, 
children, parents, reputation, poverty, flattery, youth, beauty, vanity, desire, 
wealth, anger, presumption, indolence, envy, jealousy, negligence, violence, 
lust, deceit, money, pretence, and all such other hindrances as there are in this 
life; just as the pilot sailing on a calm passage is opposed by the onset of 
contrary winds and a great storm and surge (that comes) out of the calm, and 
the fanner by untimely cold and mildew and the (pests) that creep out erf" the earth, 
and athletes by narrowly failing and craftsmen by falling short (in their crafts). 

69. But the man of faith before all else must take thought for his ending and 
leant how it is to meet him, whether vigilant (?)“ and sober and unhindered, 
or disturbed and courting worldly things and held fast by desires. So again one 
can praise the grace of a body (only) when it is wholly stripped and the 
greatness of a general (only) when he fulfils the whole promise of the war, and 
the excellence of a doctor (only) when he was succeeded in every cure, and a 
soul as <full> of faith and worthy of God (only) when it has performed what 
agrees with (its) promise; one cannot (praise the soul) which began (well) but 
slipped down into all the things of this life and fell away; nor the sluggish soul, 
which made an effort to follow better (examples), but then was reduced to 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

transitory (pursuits); nor that which desired temporal things rather than the 
eternal, nor that which exchanged the enduring for the impermanent, nor dial 
which respected what deserves no respect, nor that which esteemed deeds worthy 
of reprobation, nor that which takes pledges from Satan, nor that which received the 
serpent into its house, nor that which laughed at what is no laughing matter, 
nor that which suffers reproach for God’s sake and then does not allow itself 
to be exposed to shame, 6 * nor that which consents with its lips but does not show 
it in practice. But (we must praise the soul) which has had the constancy not to be 
paralysed by filthy pleasure, not to yield to indolence, not to be ensnared by love 
of money, not to be betrayed by the vigour of the body and by anger.' 

70. And while John was addressing yet more words to the brethren, to teach 
them to despise transitory things, Dmsiana’s lover, inflamed by the fiercest 
lust and by the influence of the many-formed Satan, bribed the steward of 
Andronicus, an acquisitive man, with a great sum of money; and he opened 
Drusiana’s grave and gave (him) leave to perform the forbidden thing upon 
(her) dead body. Having not succeeded with her while she was alive, he still 
persisted with her body after her death, and said, ‘ If you would not consent to 
union with me when alive, I will dishonour your corpse now you arc dead.’ 
With this design, when he had arranged for his wicked deed through the 
abominable steward, he burst into the tomb with him; and when they had 
opened the door they began to strip the grave-clothes from the corpse, saying, 
‘Miserable Drusiana, what have you gained? Could you not have done this while 
you were alive? It need not have distressed you, if you had done it willingly.’ 

71. And when only her undergarment* 7 remained about her nakedness, a serpent 
appeared from somewhere and despatched the steward with a single bite; so it killed 
him; but it did not bite the young man, but wound itself round his feet, hissing 
terribly; and when he fell, the serpent mounted (his body) and sal upon him. 

72. Now on the next day John came with Andronicus and the brethren to 
the sepulchre at dawn, it being now the third day 61 (from) Drusiana’s (death), 
so that we might break bread there. And at first when we came the keys could 
not be found when they were looked for, and John said to Andronicus, ‘It is 
right that they should be lost; for Drusiana is not in the sepulchre. Still, let us 
go on, that you may not be neglectful, and the doors will open of themselves, 
just as the Lord has granted us many other things.’ 

73. And when we came to the place, at John’s command the doors came 
open, and *we saw* by the grave of Drusiana a handsome young man who was 
smiling. And when he saw him John cried out and said, ‘Have you come before 
us here also, beautiful one? And for what reason?’ And he heard a voice saying 
to him, ‘Few the sake of Drusiana, whom I will now raise up - for but a short 
time (only) have I found her mine - and for the sake of the man who has expired 
by her grave.’ And when the beautiful one had said this to John he went up to 
heaven in the sight of us all. 


The Acts of John 

But when John turned to the other sick of the sepulchre he saw a young man, 
a prominent citizen of Ephesus, Callimachus, ami a huge serpent lying asleep 
upon him, and Andronicus’ steward, Fortunatus, (lying) dead. And when he 
saw them both he stood perplexed, saying to the brethren: ‘ What is the meaning 
of this sight? Or why did not the Lord reveal to me what happened here, for he 
has never neglected me?’ 

74. And when Andronicus saw them (lying) dead he sprang up and went 
to Drusiana’s grave; and seeing her only in her undergarment, he said to John, 
‘ I understand what has happened, J ohn, blessed servant of God; this Callimachus 
was in love with my sister, and since he never gained her, though he often 
ventured upon it, he bribed this accursed steward of mine with a great sum of 
money, intending perhaps, as now we can see, to execute by means of him the 
tragedy which he had plotted; for indeed Callimachus avowed this to many and 
said, “Even if she would not consort with me when living, she shall be violated 
when she is dead!” And perhaps, John, the beautiful one resolved that her 
(mortal) remains should not be dishonoured, and this is why the men who 
ventured on this arc (lying) dead. And may it not be that the voice which said 
to you, “Raise up Drusiana - for but a short time have I known her my own" 
was foretelling this? For she departed this life in distress, thinking she had 
become a stumbling-block. But I believe him who said that this is one of the 
men who were led astray; for you have been bidden to raise him up; as for the 
other, I know that he is unworthy of salvation. But I make you this one request: 
raise up Callimachus first, and he will confess to us what has happened.’ 

75. So John looked at the dead body and said to the venomous reptile, 
‘Remove from him who shall be a servant of Jesus Christ! ’ Then he stood up 
and made this prayer ‘O God, whose name is rightly glorified by us; God, who 
subduest every harmful influence; God, whose will is performed and who 
hearest us always; may thy bounty be performed on this young man; and if any 
dispensation is to be made through him, declare it to us when he is raised up. ’ 
And at once the young man arose; ami for a whole hour he kept silence. 

76. But when he came to his senses, John asked him the meaning of his entry 
into the sepulchre; and when he heard from him what Andronicus had told him, 
that he had been in love with Drusiana, John asked him again: ‘Did you succeed 
with your abominable design of dishonouring a corpse full of holiness?’ And 
he answered him, ‘How could I then accomplish this, when this dreadful 
creature struck down Fortunatus with one bite before my eyes? - Mid rightly 
so, for he encouraged me in this madness when I had already ceased from this 
great insanity - and it checked me with fright, ami put me in the state in which 
you saw me before I arose. And I will tell you something else yet more 
marvellous, which undid me even more and made me a corpse; when my soul 
gave way to madness and the uncontrollable sickness was troubling me, and 
I had already stripped off the grave-clothes in which she was clothed, and then 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

had come out of the grave and laid them down as you see, I returned to my 
detestable work; and 1 saw a handsome young man covering her with his cloak. 
And from his face rays of light shone out on to her face. Aik! he also spoke to 
me and said “Callimachus, die that you may live!” Now who he was I did not 
know, servant of God; but now that you have come, I know for certain that he 
is an angel of God; and I understand this in truth, that the true God is proclaimed 
by you, and of this I am convinced. But I beg you, do not be slow to deliver 
me from this calamity and dreadful crime, and present me to your God as a man 
who was deceived with a shameful ami foul deceit. Would that it were given 
to you to open my breast and show my thoughts! For henceforth this lies upon 
my soul, a great pain, that once I cherished thoughts which I should not have 
had, and tempted by an evil disposition (nought upon myself the greatest 
sorrow. So begging your help I clasp your feet, that I may become good [.] like 
you, since (otherwise) it is impossible for me to belong to God. And nothing 
lies upon my mind more than this, to have confidence towards your God as a 
true and genuine son. I entreat you therefore, I wish to become one of those who 
set their hopes on Christ, so that the voice may prove true that said to me here, 
“Die, that you may li ve! ” That voice has indeed accomplished its effect; for that 
man is dead, that faithless, lawless, godless man; and I have been raised at your 
hands, and will be faithful and Godfearing, knowing the truth, which I beg you 
may be shown me by you.* 

77. And John seized with great gladness and contemplating the whole 
spectacle of man’s salvation said, ‘Ah, what is thy power, Lord Jesu Christ, I 
know not, for I am amazed at thy great compassion and infinite forbearance. 
O, what greatness came down into bondage! O inexpressible freedom, reduced 
to slavery by us! O ineffable nobility, taken into captivity! O incomprehensible 
glory, who art also our advocate! The only king, yet subjected to us; who hast 
kept even the lifeless frame from dishonour, who hast convicted in this young 
man the whole unbridled state, and not allowed it to go to the limit; who hast 
muzzled the demon raging within him, and had pity on the man who was out 
of his senses! Deliverer of the man who was stained with blood, corrector of 
him that was entombed; who didst not send away him who scattered his 
fortune, nor turn thy face from him when he repented! Father who hast shown 
pity and compassion on the man who neglected himself! We glorify thee and 
praise and bless and give thanks for thy great goodness and forbearance, holy 
Jesu; for thou alone art God and no other. To whom is the power beyond all 
conspiracy, now and for all eternity. Amen.’ 

78. So saying John took Callimachus and kissed him and said, ‘Glory be 
to our God, my child, Jesus Christ who has pitied you, and counted me worthy 
to glorify his power, and counted you also worthy by a way that comes from 
him to desist from that madness ami frenzy of yours, and has summoned you 
to his own rest and renewal of life. ’ 


The Acts of John 

78. But when Andronicus saw that Callimachus was raised from the dead 
a believer, he and all the brethren entreated John to raise up Drusiana also, and 
said, ‘John, let Drusiana rise up and spend happily that short space <of lifo 
which she gave up through distress about Callimachus, when she thought she 
had become a temptation to him; and when the Lord wills he shall take her to 
himself.’ And John made no delay, but went to her grave and took Drusiana’s 
hand and said, ‘I call upon thee who an God alone, the exceeding great, the 
unutterable, the everlasting, to whom every power of principalities is subject; 
to whom every authority bows; before whom every pride is humbled and is 
still; before whom every presumption falls down and keeps silence; whom 
the demons hear and tremble; 69 whom all creation perceives and keeps its 
bounds; whom flesh does not know and blood does not understand: let thy 
name be glorified by us, and raise up Drusiana, that Callimachus may be 
further strengthened <in thee>, who provides! what to men is unattainable 
and impossible, and to thee alone is possible, even salvation and resurrec¬ 
tion; and that Drusiana may now be at peace, since now that the young man 
is converted she has no more with her the least hindrance in her hastening 
towards thee.’ 

80. And after these words John said: ‘Drusiana, arise.’ And she arose at 
once and came out of the grave; and seeing herself clad only in her undergar¬ 
ment, she was perplexed about what had happened; but when she had learnt the 
whole truth from Andronicus, while John lay upon his face and Callimachus 
with (uplifted) voice and with tears gave praise to God, she also rejoiced and 
gave praise in like manner. 

81. Now when she had dressed herself she turned and saw Fortunatus lying, 
and said to John, ‘Father, let this man arise also, for all that he strove to become 
my betrayer.’ And when Callimachus heard her say this, he said, ‘No, 
Drusiana, I beg you; for the voice which I heard took no thought of him, but 
made mention only of you; and I saw and believed. For if he had been good, 
no doubt God would have pited him and raised him up through the blessed 
John. He made it known then that the man had come to a bad end. And John 
said to him ‘My son, we have not learned to return evil for evil. 70 For God also, 
though we have done much ill and nothing well towards him, has given us not 
retribution but repentance; and although we knew not his name, he did not 
forsake but had mercy on us; and though we blasphemed, he did not punish but 
pitied us; and though we disbelieved, he bore no grudge; and though we 
persecuted his brethren, he made no (such) return; and though we ventured 
many abominable and terrible deeds, he did not repel us, hit moved us to 
repentance and restraint of wickedness and so called us to himself, as (he has 
called) you too, my son Callimachus, and without insisting on your former 
misdeeds he has made you his servant to serve his mercy. If then you will not 
allow <me> to raise up Fortunatus, it is a task for Drusiana.’ 


XV. Second and Thud Century Acts of Apostles 

82. And she made no delay, but rejoicing in spirit and and in gladness of 
soul she went up to the body of Fortunatus and said, ‘O God of (all) ages, Jesus 
Christ, God of truth, who sufferedst me to see wonders and signs and didst 
grant me to become partaker of thy name, who didst reveal thyself to me with 
thy many-formed countenance and hadst mercy on me in every way; who by 
thy great goodness didst protect me when I suffered violence from my former 
consort Andronicus; who gavest me thy servant Airdrome us as my brother, 
who hast kept me, thine handmaid, pure until this day; who hast raised me up 
when I was dead through thy servant John, 71 and when I was raised hast diown 
me the man who fell (as now) unfallen; who hast given me perfect rest in thee, 
and relieved me of the secret madness; whom I have loved and embraced; I 
entreat thee, Jesus Christ, do not refuse thy Drusiana’s petition that Fortunatus 
should rise again, for all that he strove to become my betrayer.’ 

83. And she grasped the dead man’s hand, and said, ‘Rise up, Fortunatus, 
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, even though you are in the highest degree 
an enemy of the handmaid of God.’ And Fortunatus rose up, and saw John in 
the sepulchre and Andronicus ami Drusiana, now raised from the dead, and 
Callimachus, now a believer, and the rest of the brethren glorifying God; and 
he said, ’O, what end is there to the powers of these terrible men! I did not want 
to be resurrected, but would rather be dead, so as not to see them.’ And with 
these words he ran away and left the sepulchre. 

84. And John, seeing that the soul of Fortunatus was inflexible towards the 
good, said; ‘O nature without natural inclination for the better! What a spring 
of the soul that persists in defilement! What essence of corruption full of 
darkness! What a death, dancing among those that are yours! What a barren tree 
that is full of fire! What a stump that has a demon for reason! What a branch 
(lit. wood) that brings forth coals of fire for fruit! What matter, consorting with 
the * madness of matter* 72 and neighbour to unbelief! You have convinced (us) 
who you are; you are convicted for ever with your children. The power of 
praising better things you do not know; for you do not possess it Therefore as 
your way is, so is your root and nature. Be removed then, from those who hope 
in the Lord; from their thoughts, from their mind, from their souls, from their 
bodies, from their action, their life, their behaviour, their way of life, their 
practice, their counsel, from their resurrection to God, from their fragrance in 
which you can have <no> share, from their fasting, from their prayers, from 
their holy bath, from their Eucharist, from the nourishment of their flesh, from 
their drink, from their clothing, from their love-feast (dyajiri), from their care 
for the dead, from their continence, from their justice; from all these, most 
wicked Satan, enemy of God, shall Jesus Christ our God remove you and those 
who are like you and follow your ways.’ 

85. And when he had said this John prayed, and taking bread brought it into 
the sepulchre to break and said, * We glorify thy name that converted! us from 


error and pitiless deceit; we glorify thee who hast shown before our eyes what 
we have seen; we testify to thy goodness, in various ways appearing; we praise 
thy gracious name, O Lord, <which> has convicted those that are convicted by 
thee; we thank thee, Lord Jesus Christ, that we confide in < ... >, which is 
unchanging; we thank thee who hadst need < > of (our) nature that is being 
saved; we thank thee that hast given us this unwavering <faith> that thou alone 
art <God> both now and for ever, we thy servants, that are assembled and 
gathered with (good) cause, give thanks to thee, O holy one.’ 

86. Aim! when he had made this prayer and glorified (God) he gave to all 
the brethren the Lord’s Eucharist, and went out of the sepulchre. And he came 
to the house of Andronicus, and said to the brethren, ‘My brethren, some spirit 
within me has foretold that Fortunatus must shortly turn black and die from the 
bite of the serpent; but let someone go quickly and learn if this be true.’ Then 
one of the young men ran and found him now swollen up and the blackness 
spreading and reaching his heart. And he came and told John that he had been 
dead three hours. And John said, ‘Devil, thou hast thy son.’ 

[Force. 87-105 see above, pp. 179fT.] 

The Departure (Metastasis: c. 106-115) 

John’s Last Act of Worship 

106. The blessed John therefore kept company with the brethren rejoicing 
in the Lord. And on the next day, as it was a Sunday and all the brethren were 
assembled, he began to say to them, ‘ My brethren and fellow-servants, joint- 
heirs and partners with me in the kingdom of the Lord, you know God, how 
many great works he has granted you through me, how many wonders, how 
many signs, how many healings, what gifts of grace, (what) teachings, 
directions, refreshments, services, glories, manifestations of faith, acts of 
fellowship, graces, gifts, which you have seen with your eyes are given you by 
him, (though) they are not seen with these eyes nor heard with these ears. 
Therefore be firmly settled in him, remembering him in all you do, understand¬ 
ing the mystery of (God’s) providence that has been accomplished for men, 
why the Lord has performed it. The Lord himself entreats you through me, my 
brethren, and makes request, desiring to continue free from distress, free from 
insult, and from disloyalty, and from injury; for he knows the insult that comes 
from you, he knows that dishonour, he knows that disloyalty, he knows even 
injury when you do not obey his holy commandments. 

107. So let not your gracious God be grieved, the compassionate, the 
merciful, the holy, the pure, the undefiled, the immaterial, the only, the one, 
the unchanging, the sincere, the guileless, the patient, the one that is higher and 
loftier than every name we can utter or conceive, the God Jesus Christ. Let him 
rejoice with you because you behave honourably, let him be glad because you 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

live purely, let him be refreshed because your ways are sober, let him be easy 
because you live strictly, let him be pleased at your fellowship, let him laugh 
because you are chaste, let him be merry because you love him. I give you this 
charge, my brethren, because I am now hastening towards the task that is 
prepared for me, which is already being perfected by the Lord. For what else 
could I have to say to you? You have the pledges of your God, you have the 
securities of his goodness, you have his presence that is inescapable. If, then, 
you sin no longer, he forgives you what you did in ignorance; but if when you 
have known him and found mercy with him you resort again to such (deeds), 
then both your former (sins) will be laid to your charge, and you shall have no 
part nor mercy in him.’ 

108. And after speaking these words to them he made this prayer *0 Jesus, 
who hast woven this crown with thy weaving, who hast united these many 
flowers into thine unfading flower, who hast sown these words of thine; thou 
only protector of thy servants, and physician who healest for nothing; only 
benefactor, free of arrogance, only merciful and lover of men, only saviour and 
righteous one; who ever art and dwellest in all and art everywhere present, 
encompassing all things and filling all things, God, Jesus, Christ, Lord; with 
thy gifts and thy mercy protect those that hope in thee, who exactly knowest all 
the devices and the malice of him that is everywhere our adversary, which he 
contriveth against us; do thou only, O Lord, assist thy servants by thy visitation.’ 

109. And he asked for bread, and gave thanks with these words: ‘What 
praise or what offering or what thanksgiving shall we name as we break this 
bread, but thee alone, Jesu? We glorify thy name of Father which was spoken 
by thee; we glorify thy name of Son which was spoken by thee. We glorify 
thine entering of the door, 73 we glorify thy Resurrection 74 that is shown us 
through thee; we glorify thy Way; 75 we glorify thy Seed, 76 the Word, 77 Grace, 
Faith, the Salt, 71 the inexpressible Pearl, 79 the Treasure, 10 the Plough,*' the 
Net,* 2 the Greatness, the Diadem, him that for our sakes was called the Son of 
Man, the truth,* 3 repose, knowledge, power, commandment, confidence, 
liberty and refuge in thee. For thou alone, O Lord, art the root of immortality* 4 
and the fount of incorruption and the seat of the aeons, who art called all these 
things on our account, that calling on thee through them we may know thy 
greatness, which at the present is invisible to us, but visible only to the pure 
*as it is portrayed* in thy man only.’ 

110. And he broke the bread and gave it to us, praying over each of the 
brethren that he would be worthy of the Lord’s grace and of the most holy 
Eucharist. And he partook of it himself and said, ’May there be for me also a 
part with you’, and, ‘Peace be with you, my beloved.’ After this he said to 
Verus, ’Take two brethren with baskets and spades, and follow me. ’ And Verus 
without delay did what was ordered by John the servant of God. 


The Acts of John 

The Death of John 

111. So the blessed John came out of the house and walked outside the 
gates, having told the greater number that they should leave him; and when he 
came to a tomb of a brother of ours,* 3 he said to the young men, ‘Dig, my sons ’. 
And they dug. And 1 m was more insistent with them, and said, ‘The digging 
must go deeper.’ And while they were digging he spoke to them the word and 
encouraged those that had come from the house with him, edifying them and 
preparing them for the greatness of God ami praying for each one of us. 

And when the young men had finished the trench as he desired, while we 
knew nothing (of his intention) he took off the outer clothes which he had on 
and laid them like a mattress in the bottom of the trench; and standing in his 
undergarment* 6 only he lifted up his hands and prayed thus: 112. ‘O thou that 
didst choose us for the apostolale among the Gentiles; O God who has sent us 
into (all) the world; who hast shown thyself through thine apostles; who hast 
never rested, but dost always save those who can be saved; who hast revealed 
thyself through all nature; who hast proclaimed thyself even among beasts; 
who hast made even the lonely and embittered soul (grow) tame and quiet; who 
hast given thyself to it when it thirsted for thy words; who hast speedily 
appeared to it when it was dying; who hast shown thyself to it as a law when 
sunk into lawlessness; who hast revealed thyself to it when it was already 
overcome by Satan; who hast overcome its adversary when it took refuge with 
thee; who hast given to it thine hand and aroused it from the works of Hades; 
who hast not suffered it to conform to the body; who hast shown it its own 
enemy; who hast made knowledge of thee pure, God, Lord, Jesus; Father of 
beings beyond the heavens, God of those that are in the heavens; Law of the 
ethereal beings and Path of those in the air. Guardian of beings upon earth, and 
Terror of those beneath the earth; receive also the soul of thy John which, it may 
be, is approved by thee. 

113. ‘Thou who hast kept me also till this present hour pure for thyself and 
untouched by union with a woman; who when I wished to marry in my youth 
didst appear to me and say: “John, I need thee”; who when 1 was about to marry 
didst prepare for me a bodily sickness; who, though disobeyed, on the third 
occasion when I wished to marry didst prevent me, and then at the third hour 
of the day didst say to me upon the sea, “John, if thou wert not mine, I should 
have allowed thee to many”; who didst blind me for two years, letting me be 
grieved and entreat thee; who in the third year didst open the eyes of my 
understanding and didst give me (back) my eyes that are seen; who when I 
regained my sight didst disclose to me the repugnance even of looking closely 
at a woman; who hast saved me from the temporal vision and guided me into 
that which endureth forever, who hast rid me of the foul madness that is in the 
flesh; who hast snatched me from bitter death and presented me only to thee; 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

who hast silenced the secret disease of my soul and cut off the open deed; who 
hast weakened and expelled the rebellious (enemy) within me; who hast made 
my love for thee unsullied; who hast ruled my course to thee unbroken; who 
hast given me faith in thee undoubting; who hast instructed my knowledge of 
thee with purity; who givest to each man’s works their due reward; who hast 
inspired my soul to have no possession more precious than thee. So now that 
I have fulfilled the charge which I was entrusted by thee,* 7 Lord Jesus, count 
me worthy of thy rest and grant me my end in thee, which is inexpressible and 
unutterable salvation. 

114. ‘ And as I come to thee let tin; fire retreat and the darkness be overcome, 
let chaos be enfeebled, the furnace grow dim and Gehenna be quenched; let 
angels be put to shame and demons be afraid, let the rulers be shattered and the 
powers fall; let the places on the right hand stand fast and those on the left be 
removed; let the devil be silenced, let Satan be derided, let his wrath be burned 
out, let his madness be calmed, let his vengeance be disgraced, let his assault 
be distressed, let his children be wounded and all his root rejected. And grant 
me to finish my way to thee preserved from violence and insult, receiving what 
thou hast promised to them that have lived purely and loved thee alone.’ 

115. And having sealed himself in every part, standing thus, he said ‘(Be) 
thou with me. Lord Jesus Christ’; and he lay down in the trench where he had 
spread out his clothes; and he said to us, ‘Peace (be) with you, my brethren’,** 
and gave up his spirit rejoicing. 

The Metastasis** was subsequently expanded. According to a branch of text-form 
6, represented by two manuscripts (RZ), and text-form 0 (with similar treatment in 
ps.-Prochorus: Zahn. p. 164.12f.) the apostle's body could not be found on the next 
day (RZ) or after three days (0; in ps.-Prochorus evidently already on the same day); 
'for', RZ add. ‘it was removed through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ’. The 
expansion in text-form y is more elaborate: the apostle dismisses the brethren, and 
when they return on the next day they find oily his sandals and see the earth pouring 
out, on which remembering the words of Jesus in Jn. 21:22 they return giving praise. 
This conclusion, which is also presupposed by Ephraim of Antioch (see above, p. 155), 
without the detail of the sandals left behind, combines two mutually conflicting 
traditions, both derived from Jn. 21:22; the one says that John did not die but was 
transported, while according to the other, reported in detail by Augustine (in Joh. 
tract. 124.2, ed. Willems, CChrSL 36,68 If. 28-37), he is indeed lying in the grave, 
but is not dead but asleep, so that the earth is shaken by his breathing and dust pours 
out (further witnesses in Junod/Kaestli, Histoire, 116, note 20). The revision of the 
Metastasis legend in the so-called Passio Johannis of Melito of Laodicea (PG 5, col. 
1250C) makes the empty tomb produce manna, and for Ephraim of Antioch also (in 
office 527-545) it is a holy substance which pours out from the burial place (in 
Photius, Bibl., cod. 229, ed. Henry IV, 141.4-7). In the 6lh century this ‘manna’, 
regarded as having miraculous effect, was already the subject of a wide-ranging trade 
in relics (cf. Gregory of Tours, in Glor. Mart 29, ed. Bruno Krusch, MGH.SSrerMer 


The Acts of John 

12,M969,55). Yet in the time of their bishop Chromatius (c. 387-407) the church 
of Aquileia apparently already possessed such dust as a relic (Chroma ti us of 
Aquileia, Sermo XXI 4, ed. R. Etaix/J. Lemari6, CChrSL 9A, 99.89-93). As an 
institutionalised miracle, it was in the course of time restricted to the apostle's 
commemoration day - in the East September 26 - and the sepulchral area in the church 
ofStJohn was structurally adapted for its unfolding (cf. J. Hbrmann. Das Johannes grab 
Forschungen in Ephesos IV 3, published by the Austrian Archaeological Institute, 
Vienna 1951, 179-185); its gushing from the alleged tomb of John remained of 
significance for the Ephesian cult of John down to the Turkish conquest of the city 
in 1304 (cf. ps.-John Chrysostom, in Laudem s. Joh. Aposl., PG 61, col. 719 and in 
s. Joh. Theol. IV, Junod/Kaestli 415; Symeon Metaphrastes, Hypomn in Joh. Apost. 
VH, PG 116. col. 704f.; compilation on John transmitted in a Georgian redaction by 
Euthymius Hagiorites: Michel van Esbroeck, ‘Les Acta Johannis traduits par 
Euthyme l’Hagiorite’, Bedi Kartlisa 33, 1975, 73-109, esp. 109, c. 199 of van 
Esbroeck’sdi vision; Ramdn Muntaner [Chronicle c. 206, trans. by Lady Goode nough 
n, London 1921, 499f.] presents a particularly vivid portrayal from the period 
immediately before the Turkish conquest). 


The Acts of John (text) 

1. For the following translation those of Schimmelpfeng. James. Fcstugiire and Junod/ 
Kaestli were consulted with advantage. All passages where there is a deviation from the text 
of Junod/Kaestli are enclosed within *; (*) indicates an omission as compared with this text. 
Angled brackets < > mark an expansion, square brackets (] an omission against the wording 
of the manuscripts. Assumed lacunae in the text transmitted are indicated by < . . . >. 
Explanatory additions in the translation stand in round brackets (). Conjectures marked by 
asterisks for which there are no notes are from the apparatus in the Junod/Kaestli edition. 
Instead of constant single references, a general reference to their Introduction. Commentary 
and Notes may be given here for all problems of form or substance in the text. The sub¬ 
headings in the translation derive from the translator. 

2. Cf. ATh 1; Jean-Daniel Kaestli, 'Les seines d'attnbution des champs de mission et de 
dipart de l'apdtre dans les Actes apocryphes’, in: Francois Bovon et at., Les Actes 
apocryphes des Apdtres, Geneva 1981,249-264. 

3. nqooojukouoqg is read instead of JipooopiXoOvros of the MSS. 

4. Dike: Righteousness personified (as a goddess). 

5. In what follows it is presupposed that Lycomedes is dead. 

6. Cf. Acts 3:20. 

7. a. Ml 7:7; Lk. 11:9. 

8. Reading with Fcstugiire (13. note 17): «biO> xotuprirurv xurv 6e6op£vurv pot (MSS exx) 
vOv dnoppf^cu crircov (MSS dnopfrocu airtriv, Junod/Kaestli Anopr)ori avrto^). 

9. a. 2 Cor. 7:4. 

10. a. Mk. 9:43. 

11.4 Manichaean Psalm-Book, Part II, ed.C.R.C. Allberry. 1938.192.33-193.1 (cf. above, 
p. 97. note 34). 

12. Allbeny 143.1 If. 

13. Ibid. 142.24. 

14. Virginia Burnt* ('Chastity as Autonomy. Women in the Stories of the Apocryphal Acts’. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Semeia 38, 1986, 101-117) has attempted to find a pre-literary Sitz im Leben in a specific 
early Christian women's milieu for such conversion stones in the apocryphal Acts; but see 
the criticism of J.-D. Kaestli. ib. 119-131. 

13. Superscription in MS C (see above, p. 170. note 34), which contains only the ‘Preaching 
of the Gospel': ‘Wonderful report of the deeds and of the vision which the holy John the 
theologian beheld from our Lord Jesus Christ; how he appeared in the beginning *to Peter* 
and ‘James* and in which he recounts the mystery of the Cross.' 

16. Cf. Mk. 1:16-20; Mt. 4:18-22. 

17. Cf.Jn. 13:23,23. 

18. Cf. Mk. 9:2f.; Mt. 17:If.; Lk. 9:28f. 

19. Cf. Jn. 20:2. 

20. Cf. Jn. 20:27. 

21. Cf. Lk. 7:36; 11:37; 14:1. 

22. Cf. Mk. 6:35-44; Ml 14:15-21; Lk. 9:12-17; Jn. 6:5-13; Mk. 8:1-10; Mt. 15:32-39. 

23. Junod/Kaestli (621-627) think of a possible liturgical Sitz im Leben for this so-called 
'dance-hymn' in a gnostic initiation ritual; see further on the structure and function of the 
passage AJ. Dewey. 'Hymn', with the pertinent comments by J.-D. Kaestli. In the 20th 
century this text has frequently attracted practitioners in the arts: in 1917 the English 
composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934) set it to music in an English version as the ‘Hymn of 
Jesus’ (Op. 37; cf. Imogen Holst, The Music of Gustav Hoist, Oxford *1968, 47-51); the 
French authoress Marguerite Yourcenar (1903-1987) in her novel L'oeuvre au noir (1968; 
ET The Abyss, c. 1976) drew freely upon it to characterise the milieu of occult esoteric circles 
in the 16th century; the Spanish film director Luis Buftuel (1900-1983) drew upon it. 
admittedly only according to Augustine (Ep. 237), in his film La Voie Lactie ( The Milky 
Way, 1969). which is critical of the Christian Church, for the representation of a Priscillianist 
mystery festival (text: L'Avant-Sctne du Cinema 94A)5, July/Sept. 1969, 29f.). 

24 Cf Lk. 22:54: Jn 18:12. 

25. Cf. Jn. 18:36. 

26. Cf. Mk. 14:26; Mt. 26:30. 

27. Some fragments of the hymn are quoted by Augustine in Ep. 237.5-9 (see above, pp. 154, 
168 note 29) and may be collected here; the numbers following them in brackets give the 
context of quotation in Goldbacher IV, CSEL 57: 

I will save, and I will be saved (530.17) 

I will loose, and I will be loosed (329.3 and 29) 

I will be bom (531.4) 

I will sing, dance all of you (531.7 and 9) 

I will lament, beat you all yourselves (531.12) 

I will adorn, and I will be adorned (531.13f.) 

I am a lamp to you who see me (531.18) 

I am a door to you who knock on me (531.20f.) 

You who see what I do, keep silence about my works (531.26) 

By the Word I mocked at all things, and 1 was not mocked at all (532.17f.) 

28. a. 1 Jn. 1:5. 

28a. The word “will" in this and the following verses has its full significance; “it is my will to be 
saved; not simply “I shall be saved." - G. C. S. 

29. a. Ml 11:17; Lk. 7:32. 

30. Cf. Jn. 10:9. 

31. Cf. Jn. 14:6. 

32. MS biaurxyvQrp (Junod/Kaestli t^ax&vQr\v :' was put to shame' or ‘ was in disgrace ’); 
Augustine, Ep. 237.9: sum lusus (&iaix6r(v). 

33. According to the manuscript tradition of the Council of Nicaea 787 tiooufJcn^i, in 


The Acts of John 

which the Syriac "rubut', ’day of preparation, Friday', may lie concealed. 

34. Cf. Jn. 19:14 (on Friday about the sixth hour Pilate presented Jesus to the Jews); for the 
gnostic Marcus of the school of Valentinus, according to Irenaeus (adv. Haer. I 14.6, ed. 
Adelin Rousseau/Louis Doutreleau (SC 264), Paris 1979,224f.), the sixth hour of the day 
was by divine dispensation the hour of the Crucifixion. On a different punctuation however 
the words ‘at the sixth hour* could also be related to the onset of the darkness, as in the 
Synoptic passion story (Mk. 15:33; Mt, 27:45; Lk. 23:44; cf. Gos. Pet. 15). 

35. Cf. Mk. 15:33; Mt. 27:45; Lk. 23:44. 

36. Cf. Mk. 15:19; Jn. 19:34; Gos. Pcl 9; Second Treatise of the Great Seth (NHC VII 2) 
56.8f. (ed. and trans. M. Krause in F. Altheim/R. Stiehl, Christentum am Roten Meer II, 
1973, 121; Eng. trans. in NHLE 1988, 365). 

37. Cf. Ephraem Syrus. Diatessaron Commentary XX 27. tr. Louis Leloir (SC 121), Paris 
1966,362 (*... and they gave him vinegar and gall to drink'); Gos. Pet. 16 (‘give him to 
drink gall with vinegar'); but cf. also Bam. 7.3 ('... he was given vinegar and gall to drink', 
according to Helmut Koester [Synoptische Uberlieferung bei den Apostolischen Vdtem, 
TU 65,1957,149-152] from Christian school-tradition); Second Treatise of the Great Seth 
(NHC VII 2) 56.6f. (see note 36) ('.. . who drank the gall and the vinegar’). 

38. For the motif of the apparent crucifixion cf. the gnostic Apocalypse of Peter (NHC VII 
3) 81.15-21. ed. and trans. M. Krausc/Victor Girgis, Christentum am Roten Meer II (as note 
36) 175 (‘He whom you see on the cross, glad and laughing, is the living Jesus. But he into 
whose hands and feet they drive the nails is his fleshly part, the substitute'; see below, p. 708; 
Eng. trans. in NHLE 1988,377); Second Treatise of the Great Seth (as note 36) 55.30-56.13 
(the subject of the sufferings in the passion story is [in each case?] someone other than the 
Saviour, and those who crucify him actually nail ‘their man' to the cross); the gnostic Basilides 
according to Irenaeus (124.4 ed. Rousseau/Doutreleau [SC 264] 328: the crucified is not Jesus 
but Simon ofCyiene). The motif was also taken up later by Mohammed: Koran, Sura 4.156f. (in 
aseriesof charges against the Jews): They said (in boast) “We killed Christ Jesus, the son of Mary. 
the Apostle of God"; - but they killed him not nor crucified him. but so it was made to appear to 
them’ (tr. A.Yusuf Ali. 1977, p. 230). 

39. Force. 98-101 the German translation by Alexander Bdhlig. ‘Zur Vorstellungvom Lichtkreuz 
in Gnostizismus und ManichMismus’, in Gnosis (FS Hans Jonas). 1978. 473-491. was also 
( wil t ed 

40. Jn. 1:1. 

41. Jn. 10:9. 

42. Jn. 14:6. 

43. Jn. 6:33, 35.48. 

44. Mk. 4:26; Lk. 8:5. 

45. Jn. 11:25. 

46. Jn. 11:25; 14:6. 

47. Jn. 14:6. 

48. a. Jn. 1:14, 17. 

49. Cf. Jn. 10:16. 

50. Cf.Jn. 10:38; 14:10f. 

51. The wording of the Greek text evidently has Jn. 19:34 in view; but originally it was 
rather the scourging of Jesus that was meant (Mk. 15:15; Mt. 27:26; Jn. 19:1); cf. 
Schlferdiek, 'Herkunft' 252f. 

52. Cf. Jn. 19:34. 

53. a. Gos. Pet. 19. 

54. Here the text from MS C closes with: ‘now and for ever and from everlasting to 
everlasting. Amen’. 

55. The author evidently envisages the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, wrongly, as an elevated 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

sanctuary, to which he makes the apostle go up' (cf. also c. 39: ‘I have come up’). Actually it lay 
on the low ground north-east of the city. It ranked as one of the seven wonders of the world. In 
268/9 it was devastated in a raid by the Goths, and thereafter only partly restored. Prom the 
beginning of the 5th century it finally fell into ruin (Anton Bammer, Das Heiligtum der Artemis 
von Ephesos , Graz 1984; Clive Foss, Ephesus after Antiquity, Cambridge 1979,86f.). 

56. MSS xo 66|av airx<£>, ‘what seemed good to him', for which Festugibre (16 note 26) 
suggests #| 66£a avxot), interpreting 66£a (radiance, glory) u the cultk image. Junod/ 
Kaestli (222, note 42.1) conjecture to xo|ov auxdiv, • their (= the votive offerings) bow (as 
an attribute of Artemis)'. 

57. MSS xou crrupovo; (lexically not attested); Junod/Kaestli (223, note42.2) suggestxoO 
oxTpovo^ in a meaning likewise not attested (cross-beam). The homily for St John’s day 
(BHG* 927), dependent on the Acts of John and attributed to John Chrysostom, has the 
priest killed 6no xoO xtovo£, by the column or pillar (PG 61, 720), hence the above 
translation presupposes xoO oxvXoO. a suggestion also made independent of the homily by 
G.C. Stead ( Conjectures on the Acts of John’. JTS 32. 1981, 152-153 at p. 153). 

58. MSS xoO ttuxri^ou Yryevqp^vov iQyov, corrected to im xouqoQ by J.B. Bauer. Die 
Komiptel Acu Johanms 52, Vig. Chr. 44 (1990) 295-7. 

59. Cf. 2 Cor. 7:6. 

60. MSS dcapivo^, corrected to beoprvoq by Enc Junod/Jean-Daniel Kaestli, ‘Un 
fragment in6dit des Actes de Jean: la gu£rison des fils d'Antipatroa I Smyme’, Museum 
Helveticum 31.1974.96-104, (at 104 note 41). In their edition they propose the correction 
htapeiva;. which however appears difficult in view of the durative significance of 
btapfveiv (‘remain*, but taken by Junod/Kaestli in the sense of ‘await, expect’). 

61. This sentence in comparison with the ancient Acu of John is undoubtedly secondary. 

62. So Theodor Zahn. ‘Die Wanderungen des Apostels Johannes', Neue kirchliche 
Zeitschrift 10. 1899. 191-218; id.. Forschungen zur Geschichte des neutestamentlichen 
KanonsV 1,1900.197-199. The decisive rejection of this conjecture by Junod/Kaestli (93f.) 
hangs together with a misunderstanding of the functional significance of the narrative 
framework of the Acu of John for their concept ion as a whole. 

63. Junod/Kaestli (95) understand 'way' here as a metaphor for Christianity; Aristobula has 
accordingly learned that her husband Tertullus has died as a Christian. Le. after being converted. 
In view of the order of resurrection from death and conversion which is characteristic for the Acu 
of John, a conversion leading to a speedy blissful end is far them not a very likely motif. 

64. In the 10th century the episode of Dnisiana and Callimachus was made into a drama, 
Resuscitatio Drusianae et Calimachi , after the Latin version of the Virtutes Johanms, by 
Roswitha of Gandersheim ( Hrotsvitae opera, ed. Helene Homeyer. 1970,283-297). 

65. The translation follows the Virtutes Johanms (vigiiantem ); tapyiK in the Greek 
Vorlage (with attempu at correction in two MSS) cannot be explained. 

66. Text pq aloxvvopevTjv. Junod/Kaestli (263) suggest the deletion of pi). Festugifere 
(22): ’... qui n’en con^oit pas de honte’. For aioxvveoOai as describing the condition of 
being ashamed cf. Bultmann, TDNT I, 189-191. 

67. The Greek xo toteoootov (literally something doubly equipped with tassels or fringes) 
evidently means a garment worn directly on the body by both sexes, of the nature of which 
nothing is otherwise known. The term occurs only in the Acu of John (cc. 71; 74; 80 for 
Drusiana; c. 111 for John) and in the Periplus mans Erythraei (c. 6, ed. Hjalmar Frisk, Le 
ptriple de la mer irythrte [GOtcborgs hOgskoUs Arsskrift XXXIII], Gothenburg 1927,23. 
26). the date of which is disputed (the suggestions range between the middle of the 1 st and 
the first half of the 3rd century; cf. Walter Raunig, ‘Die Versuche einer Datierung des 
Periplus maris Erythraei', Mitteilungen deranthropolog. Gesellschaft in Wien 100,1970, 
231-241), but which is probably best placed in the middle of the 1st century (cf. G.W. 
Bowersock. Roman Arabia, Cambridge, Mass./London 1983,70f.). 

The Acts of John 

68. On the ‘third day' as the conventional date for a cultic commemoration of the dead, see 
Franz Joseph DOIger, '1X0YC II. Der heilige Fisch in den antiken Religionen und im 
Christentum , 1922,555-569. 

69. Cf.Jas. 2:19. 

70. Cf. Rom. 12:17; 1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Pet. 3:9. 

71. The clause * who hast raised me up' seems to be an abbreviation of the original text, 
which is still partly legible in the palimpsest MS H (Istanbul, Patriarchal Library. 
Monastery of the Holy Trinity [Chalki] 102): *... who when I was dead didst take me <to 
thyself> because of my affliction; who when I was separated from the body didst say (to 
me): “For <a short time> you are mine, Drusiana”; who <didst bestow> on John the grace 
to raise <me> up again, that I < ... > the short time 

72. The translation follows the reading iiXqpaviag of the palimpsest H (against uXopaviag 
of the other witnesses). 

73. Cf. Jn. 10:9. 

74. Cf. Jn. 11:25. 

75. Cf. Jn. 14:6. 

76. Cf. Mk. 4:26. 

77. Cf. Jn. 1:1. 

78. Cf. Mk. 9:50; Mt. 5:13; Lk. 14:34. 

79. a. Mt. 13:45f. 

80. Cf. Mt. 13:44. 

81. Cf. Lk. 9:62. 

82. Cf. Mt. 13:47. 

83. Cf. Jn. 14:6. 

84. Cf. Wisd. 15:3. 

85. This evidently presupposes a burial place of John, displayed in Ephesus, as an element of the 
Ephesian John-legend which is polemically taken up in the Acts, although scarcely in a way to 
show independent knowledge of the place (cf. also the erroneous ideas of the Acts of John 
regarding the location of the temple of Artemis, see above, p. 207, note 55). Indeed there was 
apparently still no unanimous traditkn about this burial-place down to the 4th century. Dionysius 
of Alexandria (d. 264/5) had knowledge of two tombs in Ephesus, which were both described as 
the grave of John (ap. Euseb., HE VH 25.16, ed. E. Schwartz, GCS 92, 696.18f.); at the beginning 
of the 4th century Eusebius accepted his statement as still correct ‘even now* (HE III 39.6, 
Schwartz GCS Even in 392 Jerome writes that there were people who spoke of two 
tombs of John in Ephesus (de Vir. III. 9, ed. W. Herding, 1924.15.19-22). But in his time that 
tradition was certainly already definitive which located the apostle's grave in a burial ground on 
the hill now called Ayasoluk, north-east of the dry, above the temple of Artemis. Here, probably 
in the Constantinian period, a Martyrium was built, which the pilgrim Egeria in the late 4th century 
would gladly have visited ( Itinerarium Egeriae 233.10, ed. A. Franceschini/R. Weber [CChrSL 
175], Tumhout 1965,67.49-53); a large cruciform three-aisle basilica was erected on the site, 
apparently about 400, and finally in the time of Justinian (527-565) this was replaced by an even 
more imposing and magnificent building; cf. Forschungen in Ephesos, published by the Austrian 
Archaeological Institute, IV 3, Die Johanncsiurchc, Vicnna 1951; Wilhelm Alzinger, 'Ephesos 
B (archioi.)’ in PWRE, Supplementband XII, 1970, cols. 1588-1704, esp. 1681-1684; Marcel 
Restle, ‘Ephesos’, in Reallexikon iw byzantimschen Kunst II, 1971,164-207, esp. 180-192. 

86. Cf. above, p. 208, note 67. 

87. a. 1 Cor. 9:17. 

88. Cf.Jn. 20:19; 21:26. 

89. On the formation of tradition and legend about John's end, cf. Jean-Daniel Kaesili. ‘Lc 
rflle des textes bibliques dans la gen&se et le development des llgendes apocryphes: le cas 
du sort final de l*ap6tre Jean', Augustinianum 23, 1983, 319-336. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 


Beatha Eoin Bruinne 
Ruairi 6 hUiginn 

Introduction: The text from which the passage below derives (paragraphs 9-14) is to be 
found on fol. 32*. col. a - 33’. col. b (the passage translated: fol. 33', col. a - 33’. col. b) of 
the Liber Flavus Fergusiorum . an Irish manuscript of the 15th century, today preserved in 
the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin (Cod 23 O 48). The Liber Flavus contains a large 
selection of hagiographical texts of Irish and non-Irish origin, many of which derive from 
the apocryphal tradition, in addition to various other items. 

Our text was edited and commented cm by Ceardid Mac Niocaill under the title ‘Beatha 
Eoin Bruinne II* in Eigse 8,19S6. 222-230 (Text I). An English translation of paragraphs 
9-14 by M. Mac Craith was published in 1983 in the introduction to the Junod/Kaeslli edition 
of the Acts of John (113-116). Mac Niocaill published a related text from the same 
manuscript (fol. 32*. col. a - 32*. col. a) under the heading Beatha Eoin Bruinne in Eigse 7, 
1933, 248-233 (Text 2). He was of the opinion that die two texts belong together, and 
represent fragments, in inverted order, of a fairly long life of John compiled from various 
sources. In it John is described as Eoin Bruinne, John of the (Lord’s) breast. According to 
the colophon to Text 2. it was translated from the Latin by one Uidhistin Magraighin, whom 
Mac Niocaill regards as identical with U ighistin Mac Raighin, a member of the community 
of Augustuuan canons of Holy Island, Lough Ree. in central Ireland, whose death the Irish 
annals mention at the year 1403. There is a detailed discussion of the text and its origin in 
M. McNamara, The Apocrypha in the Irish Church, Dublin 1973. 93-98; cf. also Junod/ 
Kaestli. 109-112; on the position of the three episodes reproduced below in the history of 
the tradition of the ancient Acts of John, see above, p. 160f. 

The language of the text is early modem Irish. It shows the verbose and flood style which 
marks the Irish prose of that period It abounds in synonymous and alliterative adjectives and 
compound substantives. In some cases, which probably go back to imperfect copying, the text 

Beatha Eoin Bruinne II 9-14 

9 Once when Eoin had arisen and had cleaned his bright hands and had washed 
his fresh face and had celebrated the canonical hours with psalms and had gone 
into the chapel to hear Mass and the Sacrifice, a gentle, comely, big priest called 
Eusisp arose and put a smooth, beautiful, richly-embroidered, wonderful 
prescribed amice of gold thread around his neck, and he put a fine-textured, 
crafted (?), wonderful (?) alb over his body, and he put the beautiful, golden- 
threaded maniple on the wnstofhis left hand, and he pul a silken-laced, compactly 
hinged, golden-crossed chasuble on top, and began to celebrate Mass. Blue-eyed 
Eoin of the bright hue was devoutly anending the sacrifice, and he understood, 
from the holy fine-coloured host and from the lovely, fine, gokkm-crossed chalice 
that were in die hands of the priest called Seusisp, that he had a concealed sin. 

10Then Eoin made passionate, pitiful and sad lamentations, ami threw himself 
prostrate on the ground and said: 


The Acts of John 

‘O God who has assembled us, do not denounce us again, and 
O God who has saved us from the plagues and who has loved us, 
do not denounce us, and 

O God who has sacrificed himself for us, do not avoid us again. 

I now beseech you, O God and O Creator, Ruler and Lord, to cleanse the 
soul of that cleric and priest, that is, Seusisp, from the darkness of evil 
thoughts and from the suffocation of the great sin which is on him. For he 
is as one hanging in the Devil's noose, so that he is not fit to make sacrifice 
nor to do homage to the powerful Lord’. 

11 On hearing these holy and proper words, the priest left the sacrifice, fled 
from the chapel and began to lament his sin in the presence of God the Father, 
the Creator. Then sweet-worded Eoin Bruinne (i.e. ‘of the breast’) arose and 
addressed the sweet-syllabled deacon, Birro, and said to him: ‘Go to where 
Seusp the priest is and tell him to come in ’. And as he came in he let out a great 
cry lamenting his sins and said to everyone: ‘Let you pray steadfastly and 
assiduously to God for the destruction of my sins. ’ And he lowered himself on 
to his knees in his presence and said these words: 

Fosterling of the Creator, 

Fresh, angelic Eoin, 

Sedate, with beautiful hair, 

Bright, with blue eyes. 

Red-cheeked, with a beautiful face, 

With bright teeth and brown brows. 

Red-lipped with a bright throat, 

Skilful, bright-handed. 

Long-fingered, fresh-complex ioned. 

Bright-sided, light of step, 

Noble and slender, serene. 

Famous, pure and saintly. 

Friend of the Christians, 

Expulsion of the dark devil (?), 

To God he is a good fosterling. 

God listened to the prayer of the priest and intervened on his behalf, and noble, 
refined Eoin the Evangelist took the Sacrifice again and recited the office and 
mass purely and renewed for ever after it. 

12 There were devout old women and widows without offspring (?) and people 
of equal rank who were spending their lives completely and entirely following 
Eoin, listening to the pure bright sermons which he used to give to the people. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

so that they had no food or sustenance, wealth or means save what Eoin used 
to get from the Christians; and they complained frequently to Eoin and 
castigated him many times. For in their opinion the wealth and alms that Eoin 
received from the people were great, and they deemed their share of it to be paltry, 
and they said- ‘What does he do with it, since we do not get it for food or clothing? 
For he wishes that he himself should be wealthy and that we should be destitute.’ 

13 Eoin heard that, but he was not seized by an outburst of anger nor by a fury 
of rage as a result of it, but was sedate and patient until one day he happened 
to be on a big wide bridge, and donkeys and beasts were bringing hay to the 
town; and Eoin took the fullness of his bright hand of the hay and said; ‘O God 
in whom I believe and whom I follow, make gold of it all without delay.’ Eoin 
then said to his attendants: ‘Count all of the gold. ’ And it was counted and was 
found to consist of one hundred polished rods of beautiful refined gold. And 
Eoin said: ‘Dear sons, take the gold with you to those who know about gold.’ 
And the gold was taken to the nearest workshop, and a fire was set to smelt it, 
and they said that they had never seen better gold than it. Thereupon the gold 
was brought to Eoin, and he let it fall into the depths and the rushing torrent 
that was underneath the bridge; and that amazed everyone. Eoin then said: 
‘Were I to wish for gold without sparing and wealth without want, I would get 
it from the Lord himself. For I prefer to be poor and destitute of my own will, 
since the heavenly kingdom belongs to the spiritually poor, as the Lord said. 
Tell now those hypocritical widows that all I do with what I get is to give it to 
the other paupers and to themselves. For neither the colour nor the shape, the 
material nor the noble edges of the garment I put on when beginning the 
apostolic work of the Lord have deteriorated, and the shoes (?) arc yet no worse 
and will be no worse as long as I am alive. For Christ intended that we should 
understand the 72 languages that exist as well as our mother tongue.’ 

14 One day when Eoin was on his travels he saw approaching him on the road an 
armoured knight ready to kill the apostle. And as he came up to the apostle he said 
viciously, threateningly, hostiJely and sullenly: ‘It will not be long until you are 
powerless and under my control, and until my hands will kill you in the fashion of 
a powerful warrior. ’ Eoin said: ‘May God extinguish your barbaric threat and your 
swift anger and yourself.’ Thereupon the knight fled the spot quickly and left, just 
as smoke goes from a good fire or as ashes go with the wind; for it was the devil who 
came in the guise of a knight to fight Eoin on account of the number of people he 
converts to Christianity, and who save him for his devotion. 

Thus far the birth of the Anti-Christ and the life of Eoin Bruinne. 


The Acts of Paul 

3. Acts of Paul 

Wilhelm Schneemelcher 


1. Literature: Bibliography: F. Bovon et al., Les Actes apocryphes des Apdtres, Geneva 
1981,293*298: D.R. MacDonald (ed.). The Apocryphal Acts of Apostles (Semeia 38), 1986, 

Texts: Lipsius, As 1, 23-44; 104-117; 233-272; L. Vouaux, Les Actes de Paul et ses 
Lettres Apocryphes, Paris 1913; Carl Schmidt, Acta Pauli aus der Heidelberger koptischen 
Papyrushandschrift Nr. 1, 1904 ( 1 1905; repr. 1965Xabbreviated: Schmidt. AP); id.. 
n<?d£ei 5 Ilavtou, Acta Pauli. Nach dem Papyrus der Hamburger Staats- und Universitits- 
Bibliothek, unter Mitarbeit von W. Schubart, 1936 (abbreviated: Schmidt, mi). 

Versions: O. von Gebhart, Die lateinischen Qbersetzungen der Acta Pauli et Theclae 
(TUNFVI1.2), 1902; W. Wright, Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, 1871,1.126-169; II.l 16- 
143 (Syriac and English); F. Nau, ‘La version syriaque des martyres de S. Pierre, S. Paul et 
S. Luc' .Revue de f Orient chritien III, 1898,39-57; EJ. Goodspeed, ‘The Book of Thee la’, 
The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 17,1901,65f.(Ethiopic); F.C. 
Conybeare, The Apology and Acts of Apollonius and other Monuments ofearly Christianity, 
London 1894,61 f. (Armenian); L. Leloir, Merits apocryphes sur les Apdtres. Traduction de 
I’idition arminienne de Venise, I: ‘Pierre, Paul, Andr6, Jacques, Jean' (CChrSA 3) 1986 
(French trans.; 77-86 Martyrium Pauli; 1-34 Acta Petri et Pauli of ps.-Marcellus; cf. below, 
pp. 440ff.); on the Slavonic tradition cf. de Santos, Uberlieferung 1,43-51. 

On the smaller papyrus fragments see below, p. 216. On the correspondence between the 
Corinthians and Paul (3 Cor.) see below, pp. 217f. 

Later texts, in which elements of die ancient API live on: G. Dagron, Vie et miracles de 
Sainte Thiele. Text grec. traduction et commentaire. Avec la collaboration de Marie Duprl 
la Tour (Subs, hagiogr. 62), Brussels 1978; A. Vogt (ed.), Pandgyrique de St Pierre; 
Pandgyrique de St Paul. Deux discours inddits de Nicdtas de Paphlagonie, disciple de 
Photius’. Oriensalia Christiana 23,1931,5-97 (Paul: 58ff.); F. Halkin, ‘La Idgende erdtoise 
de saint Tile*. AnalBoll 79.1961. 241 -236. For other apostolic Acts see below, pp. 439ff. 
Translations: English: James 270-299; French: Vouaux (see above); Italian: Moraldi, 11 
1061-1131; Erbetta. II243-303. 

A complete critical edition of the API is being prepared for the CChrSA by W. Rordorf. 

Studies: Older literature in Lipsius, Apostelgeschichten, H/l; Vouaux (see above), 135- 
140. Schmidt's discussions in AP and mi (see above) are fundamental. Also important are 
the collective volumes: F. Bovon, Les Actes ... (see above); DJI. MacDonald (ed.), Semeia 
38 (see above); ‘Gli Apocrifi cristiani e cristianizzati’ (Augustinianum 23) 1983. 

Ruth Albrecht, Das Leben der heiligen Makrina auf dem Hintergrund der Thekla- 
Traditionen. Studien zu den UrtprUngen des weiblkhcn Mdnchtums im 4. Jh. in Kleinasien 
(FKDG 38) 1986; F. Bovon, ‘La vie des apfitres: traditions bibliques et narrations 
apocryphes’, in: F. Bovon er al„ Les Actes ... (see above), 141-158; V. Burrus, ‘Chastity 
as Autonomy: Women in the Stories of the Apocryphal Acts’; J.-D. Kaestli, ‘Response 1 ; V. 
Burrus, ‘Response’, in Semeia 38 (see above), 101-135; id.. Chastity as Autonomy: Women 
in the Stories of the Apocryphal Acts (Studies in Women and Religion 23), Lewiston NY, 
1987; E. Dassmann, Der Stachel im Fleisch. Paulus in der frUhchristlichen Lite ratur bis 
Irenaeus, 1979 (esp. 27 Iff.); S.L. Davies, The Revolt of the Widows. The Social World of 
the Apocryphal Acts (.Southern Illinois University Press). 1980; id., ‘ Women. Tertullian and 
the Acts of Paul’; T.W. MacKay, ‘Response’, in Semeia 38 (see above), 139-149; P. Devos, 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

'Actesde Thomas ct Acres dc Pau I '. AnalBoll 69,1951,119-130; R. Kasser, Acta Pauli 1959. 
RHPR 40,1960.45-57; D.R. MacDonald, The Legend and the Apostle. The Battle for Paul 
in Story and Canon . Philadelphia 1983; id. and A.D. Scrimgeour, ‘Pseudo-Chrysostom’* 
Panegyric lo Thee la: The Heroine of the Acts of Paul in Homily and Art’, Semeia 38 (see 
above), 151-159; G. Poupon. 'L'accusation de magic dans les Actes apocryphes’, in: F. 
Bovon et al., Les Actes ... (see above), 71-93; J. Rohde, Pastoralbriefe und Acta Pauli*. 
Studio Evangelica V (TU 103). 1968, 303-310; W. Rordorf. ’Die neronische 
Christenverfolgung 1m Spiegel der apokryphen Paulusakten', NTS 28,1981,365-374; id., 
’Sainte Thtele dans la tradition hagiographique occidentale', Augustinianum 24,1984,73- 
81; id.. ’Tradition et composition dans les Actes de Thiele. £ut de la question', Theol 
Zeitschr. Basel 41, 1985, 272-283 (Engl, version: Semeia 38. 43-52); id., ’In welchem 
Verhaltnis stehen die apokryphen Paulusakten zur kanonischen Apostelgeschichte und zu 
den Pastoralbriefen?', in: Text and Testimony, FS A.FJ. Klijn, Kampen 1988.225-241; id., 
'Nochmals Paulusakten und Pastoralbriefe', in: Tradition and Interpretation in the New 
Testament, FS E. Earle Ellis, 1987.319-327; id.. Les Actes de Paul sur papyrus: problimes 
liis aux P. Michigan in v. 1317 et 3788 ’, Proceedings of the XVIll International Congress 
of Papyrology (1986), Athens 1988, 453-460; id., 'Hiresie et Orthodoxie selon la 
Correspondance apocryphe entre les Corinthiens et l'Apdtre Paul’ (in the press); id., ‘Was 
wissen wir iiber Plan und Absicht der Paulusakten?', in Oecumenica et Patristica, FS W. 
Schneemelcher 1989. 71-82; W. Schneemelcher, 'Paulus in der gnechischen Kirche des 
z wet ten Jh.\ ZKG 75. 1964, 1-20 (= Ges Aufsdne 1974. 154-181); id.. 'Die AcU Pauli. 
NeueFundeundneue Aufgaben'.ThLZ89.1964, cols. 241-254 (= Ges. Attfsdne 1974.182- 
203); id., ‘Die Apostelgeschichte des Lukas und die Acta Pauli’, in: Apophoreta, FS E. 
Haenchen (BZNW 30) 1964. 236-250 (= Ges Aufsdne 1974,204-222); id.. ‘Der getaufte 
Ldwe in den Acta Pauli', in: Mullus, FS Th. Klauser (JbAC Erg. I) 1964,316-326 (= Ges. 
Aufsdne 1974,223-239); Y. Tissot, 'Encratisme et Actes apocryphes'. in: F. Bovon etal., 
Les Actes . . . (see above), 109-119; A. Jensen. ‘Thekla die Apostelgleiche. Wand 1 ungen 
einer frilhchristlichen Frauentradition' (in the press). 

Abbreviations: API = Acta Pauli (Acts of Paul); A The = Acu Pauli et Theclae (Acts 
of Paul and Thecia); MP = Manyrium Pauli; 3 Cor. = Correspondence between the 
Corinthians and Paul; PH = Hamburg Papyrus; PHeid = Heidelberg Coptic Papyrus; PM * 
Pap. Michigan 1317 (PM1) + Pap. Berolinensis 13893 (PB) + Pap. Michigan 3788 (PM2); 
PO = Pap. Oxyrhynchus 1602 (= Pap. Gent. 62); PA = Pap. Antinoopolis; Ry * Fragment 
in the John Rylands Library (unpublished); PG = unpublished Coptic papyrus (see below, 
pp. 263ff.). For details on all these witnesses see below, pp. 216f. 

2. Attestation: the attestation of the API is both early and good. Tertullian writes 
in de Baptismo 17 (date uncertain, probably about 200): ‘As for those (women) who 
<appeal to> the falsely written Acts of Paul (example ofThecla) <in order to> defend 
the right of women to teach and to baptize, let them know that the presbyter in Asia 
who produced this document, as if be could add something of his own to the prestige 
of Paul, was removed from his office after he had been convicted and had confessed 
that he had done it out of love for Paul’ (ed. Borleffs, CChrSL 1,1954, 291f.). 

This text presents some difficulties. First it should be mentioned that the de 
Baptismo is extant only in one manuscript and in a printed copy of 1545 which goes 
back to an old manuscript, so that the text is not completely certain. Points at issue 
in our passage are whether Tertullian wrote Acta Pauli and whether the words 
exemplum Theclae should be deleted 1 . We must hold fast to the reading Acta Pauli, 
but on the other hand have to regard exemplum Theclae as questionable. Tertullian 
thus had the API before him when in this passage he turned against tendencies to 


The Acts of Paul 

admit women also to teaching and to the administration of the sacraments. It cannot 
however be determined from the text whether TertuIlian knew the whole API or only 
the AThe, which reports Theda ’ s baptism of herself and her being authorised to teach 
by Paul (AThe 41). But there is much in favour of the view that Tertullian actually 
means the whole API and not merely the AThe; for in the AThe Paul really does not 
occupy the centre of the stage. The assumption that Tertullian's remark rehues to a 
lost pseudo-Pauline letter (so Davies) is pure speculation. 

The title Acta Pauli (= riauXou) is confirmed by the subscriptions in 

PH and PHeid. It remains open to question whether the Coptic colophon was 
correctly restored by C. Schmidt (AP 50* and 90). Schmidt reads ‘The Jtpdljeu; of 
Paul <according to> the apostle'. Of the xcrra which Schmidt assumes only one letter 
(x) has survived. At all events it cannot be concluded from Tertullian that the author 
of the API put out his work as an apostolic pseudepigraphon. We therefore cannot 
include it in the group of the literary forgeries. 

While Tertullian rejects the API on theological grounds (disapproving of the 
participation of women in teaching and the administration of the sacraments), but 
does not attack it as heretical, his contemporary Hippolytus evidently uses the work 
without hesitation. In his commentary on Daniel, composed probably c. 204, he 
writes: * If we believe that when Paul was condemned to the circus the lion which was 
set upon him lay down at his feet and licked him, why should we not also believe what 
happened in the case of Daniel?’ (ID 29; Sources chrft. 14,1947,254). This passage 
might refer to AThe c. 28 and c. 33, but only becomes properly intelligible if 
Hippolytus had also read the scene of Paul’s combat with the beasts. We may thus 
conjecture that Hippolytus knew the whole API and did not repudiate it, even if he 
does not name the source for his statement. 

Origen on the other hand twice mentions the API. In his work de Principiis he 
quotes a saying from the Acta Pauli (so in Rufunis' Latin translation): ‘This is the 
Word, a living Being’ {de Princ. 12.3; Koetschau, p. 30). It is clear from the context 
that Origen is here quoting a work under the title Acta Pauli (IlQti£ei£ IlauXov); but 
so far the quotation has not come to light in any known text of the API. C. Schmidt 
conjectured (IHI, p. 128) that the author of the API borrowed this saying as well as 
the Quo Vadis scene from the APt, and indeed from Peter’s prayer on the cross (APt 
c. 38, cf. below, p. 3150- But this remains pure conjecture. On the other hand we can 
now verify Origen’s other quotation from the API. In his commentary on John be 
says: ’If anyone cares to accept what is written in the “Acts of Paul”, where the Lord 
says: “I am on the point of being crucified afresh” . .. ‘ {Comm, in Joh. XX 12; 
Preuschen, p. 342). As PH p. 7.39 shows, this is a literal quotation from the API. 
Origen thus knew this work, and probably valued it; at least he did not reject it as 

The mention of the lion speaking to the people in Commodian {Carmen apol. 
627ff.) is not of great importance (on this see below, p. 273). 

In Eusebius on the other hand we can see how the attitude to the API has changed, 
without the document being yet entirely rejected. In his discussion of the writings of 
Peter and Paul Eusebius affirms that the (TlauXov) do not belong to the 

u n dispu t ed books {HE in 3.5; trans. in vol. I, p. 48). In the summing up of his 
statement on the Canon Eusebius reckons the API among the spurious writings, and 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

sets them on the same level as the Shepherd of Hennas, the Apocalypse of Peter, etc. 
(HE in 23; tnns. in vol. I, p. 47). Here also it is clear that the API do not indeed possess 
any canonical dignity, but that they are distinguished from the inferior heretical works. 

The same attitude seems to be reflected in the catalogue of the Codex 
Claromontanus (4th cent.; trans. in vol. I, p. 37). where the API stand between Hennas 
and the Apocalypse of Peter. The note of the number of lines, i.e. of its compass, 
shows that the API still lay before the author as part of (or an appendix to?) a biblical 

On the other hand Jerome reckons the ‘nepiodoi Pauli et Theclae and the whole 
fable of the baptized lion' among the apocryphal writings, and quotes Tertullian on 
this point (De vir. ill. 7). But since in Tenullian nothing is said about a baptized lion, 
we may assume that Jerome knew the API and rejected it as apocryphal. In the 
following period the Church gradually came to the same judgment as Jerome. Thus 
the API are rejected as apocryphal in the Decretum Gelasianum (twice: 1. All books 
which Leucius the disciple of the devil has made; 2. the Book which is called the Acts 
of Thee la and of Paul), in the Stichometry of Nicephorus, and in the Catalogue of 
the 60 canonical books (cf. the texts in vol. I, pp. 38-43). The acceptance of the AGG 
by the Manicheans naturally played a role here (for the use of the API by the 
Manicheans cf. the Manichean Psalm-book n, ed. Allberry, 143.4ff.). 

The API howeverevidentlydid not become altogether extinct. Photius incod. 114 
(ed. Henry II, 84ff.) reports very negatively about the five AGG, and therefore knew 
them. It is astonishing that Nicetas of Paphlagonia (10th cent.) 2 makes intensive use 
of the API in his speech on Paul, and combines their statements with those of the 
canonical Acts. We cannot here present an analysis of this speech, and show its use 
of the API in detail, but we may at any rate refer to the episode in Antioch, which 
Nicetas transports to Syrian Antioch (see below, p. 2190- Even in the 14th century 
Nicephorus Callistus (Xanthopulos; c 1256<. 1335) incorporated into his 
a long report about the Ephesian episode in the API (HE n 25; PG 145. cd. 821). J 

3. Extant Remains: In recent decades our knowledge of the API, a work 
frequently attested but as a whole lost, has steadily grown. Above all the discovery 
of the Coptic PHeid in 1894considerably increased our know ledge of this apocryphon. 
Since then many other finds have been added, in particular the great Hamburg 
Papyrus (PH). We must here content ourselves with a brief enumeration of the 

The following, all unfortunately preserved only in a fragmentary condition, may 
be regarded as witnesses to the entire API: 

a) The Greek Papyrus of the Hamburg Staats- und Uni versitits-bibliothek (PH), 
10 leaves of a papyrus book from the period about 300 (description of the manuscript 
in Schmidt-Schubart, IHl pp. 4-14). This manuscript contains a large part of the 
Ephesus episode (pp. 1-5), Paul’s sojourn in Corinth (pp. 6-7), the journey from 
Corinth to Italy (pp. 7-8) and a part of the MP (pp. 9-11). 

It is supplemented by various fragments: Pap. Berlin 13893, (PB), Pap. Michigan 
1317 (PM 1) and PM 3788 (PM2) belong to a leaf which offers a parallel to the text 
contained in PH p. 8. 4 Pap. Oxyrhynchus 1602 is not a papyrus but a leaf horn a 
parchment codex of the 4th/5th cent., which contains the text of PH p. 8.17-26. 5 


The Acts of Paul 

b) The Coptic Papyrus No. 1 in Heidelberg (PHeid) contains extensive fragments 
of the whole API (description of the manuscript, probably written in the 6th century, 
in Schmidt, AP pp. 3-20). 

The fragment of a Coptic parchment of the 4th century in the John Rylands 
Library Suppl. 44 (Ry), so far not yet published, presents some lines from the 
beginning of the API (cf. Schmidt, mi, pp. 117f.). 

On the Coptic papyrus, likewise not yet published, which contains the Ephesus 
episode complete (PG), cf. R. Kasser, below, pp. 263ff. 

Three complexes of text, which we may assume to have belonged to the ancient 
An, have each a separate tradition history. Even if the author found these parts 
already shaped, and incorporated them into his work, we cannot say anything about 
their history before their inclusion in the API. 

c) The Acta Pauli et Theclae were edited by Lipsius Aa 1, pp. 235-269) on the 
basis of 11 Greek manuscripts as well as Latin, Syriac, Slavic and Arabic versions 
(cf. his Introduction, Aa 1, pp. xciv-cvi). To these may be added a small Greek 
fragment POx. No. 6 (Grenfell-Hunt 1, pp. 9f.) and another fragment from Antinoopolis 
(PA: Roberts no. 13, pp. 26-28). Important are the Latin translations, of which 
according to O. von Gebhart TU NF 7.2,1902) there were at least four, independent 
of one another. Further information on the tradition in Vouaux, pp. 12-19. The 
relation of the witnesses to one another and the value of the individual versions 
probably requires a fresh investigation. Lipsius' text is frequently in need of 
correction. In this respect a special significance attaches to the Coptic version (see 
above under b), even if it is not of itself decisive. 

d) The correspondence between the Corinthians and Paul (3 Cor) in several 
respects presents considerable problems (cf. below, p. 228). Here it is in the fust 
place only a matter of the questions of its transmission. The correspondence was 
known through the Armenian Bible and through the commentary of Ephraem Syrus 
on the Pauline Epistles (also preserved in Armenian). Through PHeid the Coptic text 
was published as part of the API. Then gradually there followed the discovery of five 
Latin manuscripts, some of them admittedly fragmentary: Cod. Ambros. E 53 inf., 
10th cent. (M); Cod. Laon 45.13th cent. (L); Cod. Paris, lat. 5288,10/11th cent. (P); 
Cod.ZtlrichCar.C14,10th cent. (Z); Cod. Berlin Ham. 84,13th cenL(B). While 3 Cor 
is missing in PH (and also is completely ignored in the remaining text of this witness), we 
now have for die first time a Greek version in the 3rd-century PBodm X.‘ 

The various witnesses differ considerably, especially with regard to their 
compass. PHeid presents an introduction, through which the correspondence is 
linked with the rest of the text of the API. Then follow the two letters, separated by 
some intervening material. The letters and the intervening material (without the 
introduction) are handed down by most Armenian MSS and by Ephraem. The letters 
only (without the intervening section) are to be found in PBodm, M, L and B. Zhas 
only the letter of the Corinthians and the intervening section, while P contains only 
Paul’s letter. The witnesses also differ within the text of Paul’s letter, through 
additions or through omissions. 

e) The Martyrium Pauli was edited by Lipsius according to two Greek manu¬ 
scripts (Cod. Patmiacus 48 (9th cent. )=P; Cod. Athous Vatoped. 79 (10th/l 1 th cent.) 
= A), as well as a Coptic, a Slavic and an Ethiopic version. Appended is die 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

fragmentary Latin version according to three Munich manuscripts (Lipsius, Aa 1, pp. 
104-117; cf. pp. lii-lvii). To these may be added a Syriac version, which Lipsius did 
not take into account, and above all PH pp. 9-11. Lipsius* text must at many points 
be corrected on the basis of PH and PHeid. 

4. Reconstruction and composition: relation to the Lucan Acts: in what 
follows, an attempt will be made to bring the material available into a certain order. 
It should be emphasised that this is really only an attempt. Many questions remain 
open. is not possible todetetmine the extent of the lacunae with any certainty. 
Nor on we say with any confidence whether the API portray one major missionary 
journey by Paul, or whether some places were visited twice by the apostle. Here we can 
conjecture much, but prove little. The same also holds for other problems. 7 

1. From Damascus to Jerusalem. The beginning of the API has not survived, but 
C. Schmidt has made the first episode available from some fragments. A small Coptic 
fragment (Ry) contains some lines of a narrative from the life of Paul. Evidently the 
appearance of Christ on the way to Damascus was previously reported. In the extant 
text Paul receives the command to go to Damascus, and from there to Jerusalem; he 
comes to Damascus to the community there assembled (and fasting!).' He seems then 
to have delivered a sermon in the presence of the Jews.* Presumably it was then 
reported (referring to Acts 9:26?) that Paul journeyed from Damascus to Jerusalem. 

Now in a later section of the API Paul himself speaks of his passage from 
persecutor of Christians to preacher of Christ (cf. below, p. 264). In this address in 
Ephesus he recounts that he came to the community in Damascus (Judas, the brother 
of the Lord, plays a part here), that he was there instructed in the Christian faith and 
was then himself found worthy to preach the Gospel. The technique of the author of 
the AGG makes it seem possible that this short and indirect account relates to a 
preceding longer narrative (cf. for example the Eubula story in the APt; see below, 
p. 280). We may thus assume that in the context of Paul's sojourn in Damascus a 
sermon actually was recorded. Paul further relates in Ephesus that he departed from 
Damascus - the reasons are not stated, but his departure took place by night, cf. Acts 
9:25 - and marched in the direction of Jericho. He thus set himself, in conformity with 
the Lord’s injunction (cf. Ry), on the way to Jerusalem. According to the apostle’s 
later speech, the baptism of the lion (see below, p. 264) took place on this journey, 
and this too will presumably have been related in detail at this point. 

For Jerusalem we have no further reports. C. Schmidt however regarded two 
leaves of PHeid as parts of this episode. These are the pages 60/59 and 61/62, which 
however are so badly damaged that we can voice little more than a conjecture about 
their position in the API as a whole. If on p. 61 it is said: ‘Thou ftndest thyself in sight 
of Jerusalem’, that is no sure indication that the scene took place in Jerusalem. The 
mention of Peter on p. 59 is also not of much consequence, especially since we do 
not know who is really speaking at p. 59, lines 8ff. Hence we cannot by any means 
form so confident a judgment of these pages as Schmidt did (Tin, p. 118). Despite 
this it remains probable that a certain space in the API was devoted to Paul’s stay in 

2. Paul in Antioch. In PHeid pp. 1 -6 are preserved the remains of the description 
of Paul’s activity in Antioch. These pages also however have so many gaps that we 


The Acts of Paul 

can only approximately reconstruct the course of the action. In particular it is not clear 
how Paul’s passage from Jerusalem to Antioch was described in the API, nor can we 
determine from the extant fragments whether the author of the API adhered to the 
route of the canonical Acts. 10 Again it is not clear which Antioch is meant in PHeid 
pp. 1-6, the Syrian or the Pisidian. Since reference is made on p. 6 to Paul’s flight 
from Antioch to Iconium, it has been assumed that it is the Pisidian Antioch that is 
in view (cf. the particulars in Schmidt, nn, pp. 115ff.). On the other hand it is 
reported in AThe c. 26 that Paul came to Antioch with Thee la, and Theda was there 
embraced by a man Alexander on the open street (see below, p. 243). Now this 
Alexander is characterised in the greater part of the Greek manuscripts as a Syrian, 
while one manuscript, which Tischendorf and Lipsius followed, describes him as 
otHJuktncnS- E v «> if this reading were correct," which however can scarcely be the 
case, it remains questionable whether we may draw from it the conclusion that here 
the Syrian Antioch is meant. 

Reference may be made here to three points: 

a) In the Greek Acts of Titus 12 the API have undoubtedly been used. Now it is said 
there in c. 4 (Halkin, p. 246): ‘When they reached Antioch, they found Barnabas, the 
son of Panchares, whom Paul had raised up... .Thereafter they journeyed to Seleucia 
and Cyprus, Salamis and Paphos, and from there to Perga in Pamphylia and again 
to Antioch in Pisidia and to Iconium, to the house of Onesiphorus, to whom Titus had 
previously related the matter concerning Paul.’ Part of this account probably goes 
back to the canonical Acts, but the name Panchares, the father of Barnabas, takes us 
beyond Acts. This name and the raising from the dead referred to appear in PHeid 
pp. 1-6, although admittedly the son is not there called by the name of Barnabas.' 5 
It is thus fairly clear that the author of the Acts of Titus borrowed from the API. The 
Onesiphorus in Iconium and the role of Titus also derive from the API (cf. AThe c. 
2). 14 Now it is said in the Acts of Titus that Paul journeyed again (nriXiv) to Antioch 
in Pisidia. This can only be understood thus: that the author of the Acts of Titus 
assumed that the raising of Barnabas took place in Pisidian Antioch, and that Paul 
after his activity in Cyprus returned thither by way of Perga, and thence came to 
Iconium. It remains however obscure whether in this interpretation of the Antioch in 
the Panchares episode as the Pisidian the author of the Acts of Titus could really appeal 
to the API, or whether he hit upon exactly die same conclusion as modem scholars. 

b) It is not clear what value we should accord to the note in Nicetas of Paphlagonia 
(see above, p. 216). He reports (ed. Vogt, 70f.) that Paul escaped from Damascus (cf. 
Acts 9:25) and then continued his journey to Antioch in Syria (which does not agree 
with Acts 9). There he is at first thrown into prison, but later freed. He then raises from 
death the son of a high official (Panchares?), and thereafter travels on to Iconium. 
The report of the episode in Iconium is manifestly dependent on the AThe, which 
indeed link on to the report of Paul ’ s sojourn in Antioch (see below). It could therefore 
well be that the mention of Syrian Antioch in Nicetas derives from the API. 

c) Finally it must be observed that we are probably ascribing rather too high an 
intellectual level to the author of the API when we expect him to have elaborated all 
the details of his work consistently ami harmonised them one with another, and at 
the same time also to have sought after the closest possible correspondence with the 
canonical Acts. Rather is the author of this apocryphal work to a great extent a 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

compiler. He gave a fixed written form to legends which were current and inserted 
them into a larger composition; many a section he probably invented himself. In the 
process obscurities, gaps and contradictions have remained. Further it must be 
emphasised that the dominating factor in the production of the API was neither a 
geographical nor a historical interest. The author's purpose is the edification and 
upbuilding of the community, perhaps also the propagation of a particular ‘image’ 
of Paul. We may therefore conjecture that he did not set particular store upon the 
distinction of the two Antiochs. Naturally he has a definite itinerary for the apostle 
in view, and sought to present it. So too the model of the canonical Acts may in a 
certain fashion have influenced him and his work. But how strong this influence was, 
and whether it determined die itinerary, we do not know. The material is too 
fragmentary for us to decide with certainty whether Paul in fact appears only once 
in each place (as C. Schmidt thought, nil 118; this is uncertain for Corinth, see 
below, p. 229f.). Thus the question which Antioch is here meant does not admit of 
a definite answer. The Acts of Titus speak for the Pisidian Antioch as the scene for 
all the events. The text of Nicetas tells against this, and so does the fact that in PHeid 
only eight pages of text could have preceded, if Schmidt's reconstruction is correct. 
On these eight pages, then, room must have been found for the events in Damascus, 
Jerusalem and Antioch in Syria, which is scarcely possible. However that may be: 
even if the Panchares episode took place in Pisidian Antioch, this does not mean that 
in the API there was no reference to Syrian Antioch at all. In particular, we cannot 
affirm with any certainty that PHeid contained the complete text of the API. There 
is indeed much in favour of this view, but we cannot prove it >} It is quite possible 
that the lacuna before the Panchares episode (in Pisidian Antioch?) was greater than 
has been assumed on the basis of the Coptic manuscript. But this also remains 

From the fragmentary pages of PHeid 1 -6 we can deduce at least in outline what 
Paul did in Antioch (see below, p. 238). 

3. Acts of Paul and Thecla (Iconium. Antioch, Myra, Iconium, Seleucia). - The 
next episode is particularly well known through the fact that it was transmitted as an 
independent piece (see above, p. 2170- In PHeid it is directly attached to the events 
in Antioch, and is thus guaranteed by this manuscript as part of the API. Paul’s stay 
in Myra and Thecla’s meeting with him there (AThe c. 40) also link the AThe with 
the API. 

Since the content of this piece is guaranteed by a wide textual tradition, the 
reconstruction offers no problem. The composition of the narrative is also clear Paul 
comes to Iconium, preaches there (the sermon is summarised, cc. 5f., in the form of 
blessings), and through this sermon converts Thecla. The consequences correspond 
to the pattern which occurs also in other apocryphal Acts: the husband (here it is the 
fianc^), who through the woman’s continence has been deprived of her, stirs up the 
people or the authorities against the apostle. Here Paul is now imprisoned. Thecla 
visits him by night, but this is discovered and in consequence, after Paul has been 
expelled from the town, she is condemned to death at the stake. Rain and hail however 
prevent the execution and Thecla, now set free again, is able to follow Paul, who is 
staying meanwhile with Onesiphorus and his family in a burial vault on the road to 
Daphne. Despite serious scruples Paul takes Thecla with him to Antioch (which?). 


The Acts of Paul 

where at once a fresh misfortune comes upon her. A Syrian Alexander (cf. above, 
p. 219) falls in love with Thecla, but naturally is rebuffed and takes his revenge by 
having her condemned by the governor to the arena. A woman named Tryphaena, 
who is later described as a queen and a kinswoman of the emperor, takes her under 
her protection. This Tryphaena has lost her daughter Falconilla, and begs Thecla to 
intercede for the deceased. We now come to the fight with the beasts, in the course 
of which Thecla baptizes herself. As many beasts are set loose against her, she throws 
herself into a large pit full of water. The seals in it are killed as by a flash of lightning. 
Since the other animals also do nothing to Thecla, but Tryphaena falls in a swoon 
and it is feared that she is dead, Thecla is set free. It is characteristic for the entire 
API that the detailed description of the fight with the beasts, which owing to the help 
of a lioness and some marvellous events does not lead to Thecla’s death, concludes 
with the conversion of Tryphaena and pan of her household: ‘Now I believe that the 
dead are raised up! Now I believe that my child lives!' (c. 39). The miracles here as 
always are the proof of the truth of the Christian proclamation. 

After Thecla has rested eight days in the house of Tryphaena and has there 
proclaimed the Word of God, she yearns after Paul. She learns that he is in Myra, and 
goes after him. After a short time together she goes back to Iconium with the 
commission to teach the Word of God, finds her fiancl no longer alive, attempts to 
convert her mother (nothing is reported of any outcome), and then proceeds toSeleucia. 
There she enlightens many through the Word of God and dies a peaceful death. 16 

This brief account of the contents shows that we have to do with a homogeneous 
composition. Some questions remain, which are important from the point of view of 
the composition of the API as a whole. In the entire section it is not so much Paul as 
Thecla who stands in the foreground. Certainly there are also reports about Paul: his 
sermon in Iconium, his defence before the governor, his meetings with Thecla 
outside Iconium and in Myra. But this in no way alters the fact that here it is more 
a question of ‘Acts of Thecla’ than of * Acts of Paul'. Thus it is striking that Paul, who 
is the really guilty party, is according to c. 21 expelled from Iconium, but Thecla must 
suffer death by fire. The apostle is indeed asked by Alexander in c. 26 to help him 
to win Thecla, but disappears from the ensuing narrative. When Thecla has 
successfully endured the combat with the beasts, she has to seek after Paul; he thus 
appears to have set out from Antioch for Myra without leaving any message. All this 
points to the view that the author of the API has here absorbed independent Thecla- 
traditions into his book and worked them up. 17 It will be difficult to disentangle these 
traditions, which are probably connected with the worship of Thecla in Seleucia (or 
Iconium), since the linguistic form of the text today before us is the work of the author 
of the API. 1 * This means that the author has given a stamp of his own to the traditional 
material which came down to him. Whether the striking double narration ofThecla’s 
deliverance in Iconium and Antioch belonged thereto, or whether here two different 
and in some respects competing traditions have been used, can scarcely be 
determined. Nevertheless we may here apply the general observation that the authors 
of the apocryphal Acts are fond of repetitions of motifs and scenes which to them were 
especially valuable - in this again a true reflection of popular tradition. Whether we 
can apply the ‘laws’ of folk-lore to the AThe (and also to the other parts of the API) 
remains however doubtful. Above all we must be very cautious about any combina- 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

tion of these folk-lore hypotheses with the assumption of a liberated women's 
movement in the Church of the 2nd century as the Sitz im Leben for the API (and the 
other AGG). On a sober treatment of the evidence, hypotheses of such a kind appear 
to be largely no more than the products of modem fancy, without any basis in the 
sources. 1 * 

If it is correct that the AThe are a collection of oral traditions put into shape by 
the author of the API, then the question of historical reminiscences in the Thee la 
legends, which formerly was accorded such importance, 1 * is probably to be answered 
with an unambiguous negative. Even if there was - as we may presume - a woman 
named Thecla who was converted by Paul, the attempt to provide historical proof for 
the actual occurrences is unavailing. Neither ‘queen’ Tryphaena (who did exist, cf. 
Rolffs, NTApoHdb 377f.; Der kleine Pauly I, 1964, col. 415, s.v. Antonia Tr.) nor 
the author’s alleged knowledge of the roads (cf. Ramsay) are of any assistance here. 
Nor can Pseudo-Chrysostom’s homily cm Thecla (BHG 4 , no. 1720) be claimed as 
evidence for an older tradition. 11 Rather this text shows how the legend developed 
further. We may probably assume that in the process the local cult of St Thecla, which 
spread very quickly from Seleucia to the East and to the West, played an important 
role. The wide dissemination of the AThe shows that this part of the ancient Acts, 
separated off from the API, was certainly influential. 11 

4. Paul in Myra. Already in c. 40 of the AThe it was reported that Paul was in 
Myra (on the south coast of Lycia). Now on p. 28 of PHeid a new section is attached 
directly to the conclusion of the AThe. Its superscription was reconstructed by 
Schmidt (AP, p. 52): ’< When he was departed from> Antioch <and taught in My>ra*. 
This supplement to the seven extant letters may be correct. At any rate the following 
scene takes place in Myra. Unfortunately the Coptic papyrus has many lacunae, and 
in particular at least one leaf of the text is missing (cf. Schmidt, AP. p. 9). In spite 
of this the train of thought can be clearly recognised. During his activity in Myra Paul 
heals a man suffering from dropsy, named Hermocrates. This man's son Hermippus 
is but little pleased by the healing, since he had already been counting on the 
inheritance, while another son, Dion, ‘heard Paul gladly’. Unfortunately the 
following text is not very clear. Dion appears to lose his life through a fall. His father 
mourns indeed at first, but during Paul's sermon forgets his sorrow, while his mother 
comes to Paul with her clothes rent, i.e. as one in mourning, and Paul sends young 
men to bring the dead Dion - probably with the intention of raising him again to life. 
Unfortunately the text here breaks off; a leaf is missing, on which probably reference 
was made to the resurrection of Dion. Further there will have been an account of 
Hermippus’ preparations for revenge on Paul. Page 31 at any rate begins with a dream 
of Paul's, in which he is warned against a great danger. Hermippus comes against 
Paul with a crowd with a sword and staves, and Paul meets this attack as Christ did 
in the Garden of Gethsemane. As Hermippus sets upon Paul, he becomes blind and 
now not only repents of his hostility against Paul but also recognises the vanity of 
this world’s goods. Paul is shaken at the hearing of his prayer and the humbling of 
the proud Hermippus, but seems to have no intention of helping the blind man. If there 
is no leaf missing between pages 32 and 33, we must take the sequel to be that Paul 
goes into the house of Hermoc rates, but the young mat lay Hermippus down before 
the door. This however is not a very meaningful sequence of events, since after the 


The Acts of Paul 

preceding text the action of the young men is superfluous. It seems more natural to 
assume a lengthy lacuna, probably a whole leaf. On the following leaf we are told 
how Heimippus lies before the door, and how his parents on the other hand first 
distribute money and grain, but are then troubled over their blinded son. They pray 
with Paul, and Heimippus recovers his sight. He relates that Paul laid his hand upon 
him, which however according to the narrative cannot have been possible; the Lord 
himself healed him, in the form of Paul. The end of the story cannot be reconstructed, 
since not only are there lacunae on the extant pages but also there is probably a leaf 
missing between pages 34 and 35. 

We can thus trace at least in outline a large part of this section of Paul’s journey. 
Whether the author of the API contented himself with a resurrection from the dead 
and the healing of a blind man, or whether a lengthy sermon by Paul also stood here, 
we cannot say. The material before us is sufficient only to enable us to recognise 
various motifs and scenes which are typical for the API and the other apocryphal Acts. 
Here it must be said that this section has no detailed reference to the continence which 
elsewhere is so strongly emphasised; at most one might mention in this connection 
Hermippus’ renunciation of the goods of this world, or the distribution of money and 
grain to the widows by his parents. But the sexual continence which in other parts 
of the API plays so prominent a role is lacking in the extant fragments of this episode. 
It might in some way have been of importance in the lost sections. We may however 
also assume that the author wished in this case to display by means of an example 
the other side of Paul's preaching, the resurrection. But even this is by no means 
clearly said. However that may be, these considerations lead to the conclusion that 
here also the author has worked into his composition a tradition which had come 
down to him. 

Here comparison with the canonical Acts is interesting. According to Acts 27:5f., 
Paul on his journey to Rome only changed ships in Myra. In the API he works there 
as a missionary, as always not by word only but also through his acts. We may 
conjecture that some local legends provided the author with the inspiration and the 
pattern for this section. 

S.PaulinSidon. Paul's activity in Myra is followed in PHeidpp. 35-39, according 
to Schmidt's reconstruction, by the unfortunately very fragmentary account of his 
stay in Sidon. This reconstruction, to be sure, is only partially certain. In the first 
place, it is probably correct that Sidon follows Myra, even if the lemma on p. 35 is 
not preserved in full: ‘When he was departed from Myra and <wished to go to 
Sidon>'. What now follows however has to a great extent been very uncertainly 
restored or interpreted by Schmidt (cf. his account of the contents, AP pp. 95ff.). On 
pp. 35/36 we have first of all a report of Paul’s journey to Sidon. Paul is accompanied 
by a number of brethren from Perga. On the way he appears to have entered into a 
discussion at a pagan altar with an old man, who quotes examples of the punishment 
meted out by the gods to those who forsake them. Here already, however, much 
remains obscure. There follows a gap of at least two leaves. This figure was suggested 
by Schmidt‘since on p. 37 we are in the middle of the narrative ofihe events in Sidon’. 
On this line of argument it might naturally have been four leaves. What was contained 
in these leaves we do not know. On p. 37 we have first the end of an address by Paul 
(we may probably assume that it is Ik who is speaking), in which he seeks to restrain 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

his hearers from some course of action by referring to Sodom and Gomorrah. The 
consequence is however that Paul, with the brethren Thrasymachus and Cleon (cf. 
p. 38.5), is cast into the temple of Apollo where, surprisingly, the people seek to fatten 
them up with good food (in preparation for sacrifice?). Paul fasts and prays, and at 
his prayer the half of the temple collapses (probably the part in which the prisoners 
were not shut up). This occasions considerable alarm, and on the insistence of the 
people Paul and lus companions are brought into the theatre. Here the text breaks off 
again. Whether here again two leaves only are missing or more, we cannot say. On 
p. 39 we find the conclusion of the Sidon episode, of which unfortunately only a little 
is coherently preserved. We can recognise that Paul delivered an address, which 
possibly won the people over. A certain Theudas appears to have begged for baptism. 
The page ends with the departure from Sidon for Tyre. 

It is thus scarcely possible to give an accurate account of the contents of this 
section. Many lacunae, obscurities and uncertainties remain. The brief notice in the 
Acts of Titus c. 3 does not help us very far. After briefly repotting that Paul first 
preached the word of Christ in Damascus (this may derive from Acts 9:22), the author 
continues: ‘And Apphia, the wife of Chrysippus, who was possessed by a demon, was 
healed by Paul; and after he had fasted seven days he overcame the idol of Apollo.' 
Now the names Amphion and Chrysippus appear in PHeid p. 40 (Tyre, see below, 
p. 250). From this Schmidt (fin p. 114) concluded that the author of the Acts ofTitus 
has condensed the episode at Tyre, the name Amphion in the Coptic being only a 
corruption of Apphia. u The note about the overcoming of the idol of Apollo in the 
Acts ofTitus would then go back to the Sidon section of the API. Against this it can 
hardly be objected that in the Acts of Titus the sequence Sidon-Tyre in the API is 
reversed; in so summary a report this can readily be understood. It is more difficult 
to reconcile the overcoming of the idol with the collapse of the temple (according 
to Schmidt’s reconstruction, p. 98). Even this however would be possible, only it 
would then have to be assumed that reference was made to it also in the narrative, 
and not only to the collapse of the temple. In favour of this view is the fact that p. 
38.19f. says: ‘The god of the Sidonians, Apollo, is fallen, and the half of his temple.' 
All this shows however that here we can work only with cautious conjectures. 

It may be further noted that the evidently quite detailed portrayal of Paul’s 
experiences in Sidon does not tally very well with the brief mention of this town in 
Acts 27:3. According to Acts, Paul is brought from Caesarea to Sidon, and there by 
permission of the 'philanthropic ’ centurion Julius he is allowed to visit *his friends’, 
i.e. the Christian community in Sidon, which was either known to Luke or imagined 
by him. That the narrative of the API cannot have originated out of this note needs 
no further proof. Again, the route of the journey does not agree with Acts. Whether 
this part of the API goes back to a local legend of the church in Sidon cannot be said, 
owing to the fragmentary state of the tradition. 

6. Paul in Tyre. Still more difficult is the reconstruction of the part of the API in 
which Paul’s sojourn in Tyre is depicted. The lemma on p. 39 of PHeid is well 
preserved: ‘When he was departed from Sidon and wished to go to Tyre.’This makes 
it certain that, contrary to the account in Acts. Paul travelled from Sidon to Tyre. 
There, according to PHeid p. 40, he had to deal with Jews. The Apphia and 
Chrysippus known from the Acts of Titus (cf. above) make their appearance, and 


The Acts of Paul 

ultimately Paul appears to be active as an exorciser of demons. Schmidt by way of 
experiment attached some fragments from PHeid here, but it remains questionable 
whether these (pp. 64,63.70,69,68,67,66,65) have anything to do with the episode 
at Tyre, or whether they belong to some other point on the route. It may be correct 
that a part of these fragments derives from a speech by Paul or from a disputation, 
but more we cannot say. 24 On pp. 60/59 and 61 /62, which Schmidt originally wanted 
to accommodate here as well, cf. above, p. 218. 

We must thus content ourselves with the observation that only PHeid p. 40 
belongs to the episode at Tyre, and that here the thread of the narrative breaks off. 
This is all the more regrettable in that the gap which here opens is very large, and 
cannot be removed by any kind of conjecture as to what may have stood in the lacuna. 
Schmidt thought (Iin 11 9) that Jerusalem could not have been referred to here, since 
the author has already reported on Paul’s stay in this city at the beginning of his work. 
In this Schmidt presupposes that the API never make the apostle return to the same 
place twice. This however, as already noted (see above, p. 220) is a hypothesis 
incapable of proof. As a further reason for excluding Jerusalem (from the lacuna 
here), Schmidt assumes that the author deliberately did not wish to take up Paul’s 
journey with the collection and his imprisonment in Caesarea because he did not want 
‘to set before his readers a Paul transported as a prisoner to Rome’ (1111119). This 
argument too may be considered not very convincing. 

It is admittedly surprising that according to the API Paul arrives in Rome as a free 
man (cf. MP, below, pp. 260ff.). W. Rordorf has attempted to solve this riddle by 
assuming that the API reported two different journeys by Paul. 23 The one would 
correspond to the so-called third missionary journey, the other (after the lacuna in 
PH pp.5/6) is to be located after the events of Acts 28. Rordorf adduces the Pastorals 
and the Acts of Titus in support of his thesis. In the Pastorals (according to R.) we 
meet with traditions which are also taken up in the API. In the Acts of Titus there is 
brief mention of activity by the apostle in Seleucia, on Cyprus, in Perga, Antioch (in 
Pisidia), Iconium, Lystra and Derbe (c. 4; for text see above, p. 219f.). This account 
is a combination of Acts and the API. The gap between Tyre and Ephesus could thus 
be closed, just as on the other side the gap between Ephesus and Philippi - PH leaves 
out Philippi altogether (see below, p. 227) - also appears in a different light. 

This hypothesis, which cannot here be discussed in the detail one would wish, is 
indeed fascinating, but still leaves some questions outstanding. Fra- one thing, both 
Schmidt and Rordorf seem to me too much set upon a comparison with Acts. The 
author of the API may have known Acts (see below, p. 232), but he did not intend 
to supply a duplicate of Luke’s work; he fashioned a portrait of Paul of his own, rooted 
in the tradition of Asia Minor, in the form of a ’novel'. For another, the comparison 
with the Pastorals is rendered questionable by the fact that Rordorf wishes to extract 
historical information or primeval traditions from these pseudapostolic letters, which 
derive from the beginning of the 2nd century. 

We must therefore for the moment accept that the gap between Tyre and Ephesus 
cannot at present be filled. Whether Paul went from Tyre to Caesarea 1 * or Jerusalem 
or Crete or Cyprus (Schmidt IUI, p. 119) remains unknown, pending the discovery 
of new material. That Ephesus was not the only scene of operations in Asia Minor 
Schmidt ( loc. cit.) had already conjectural But here, as we now know, it is aquestion 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

not of Miletus but of Smyrna. This is shown by the beginning of the as yet unpublished 
PG (cf. Kasser, RHPR 40. 1960, pp. 45-57, and below, p. 263). But what Paul did 
in Smyrna, and what stopping-places lay before it, remains uncertain. 

7. Paul in Ephesus. For Paul's stay in Ephesus we have, in addition to the 
unpublished PG (see below, pp. 263ff.), the Hamburg Papyrus, which presents this 
episode on pp. 1 -5. This makes it possible to survey the structure of the whole section. 
Paul comes from Smyrna to Ephesus and there puts up at the house of Aquila and 
Priscilla. After a vision with the intimation of sorrows to come, Paul delivers a 
sermon, in the course of which he gives an account of his conversion and of the 
baptism of the lion. This sermon has the usual result: Paul is brought before the 
proconsul Hieronymus (PH p. 1.30), and is required to give an account of himself 
(here PH p. 1 begins). The speech in which he does so is shot through with apologetic 
motifs. This is all the more striking in that previously there has not been - as Schmidt 
still conjectured (nn, p. 87) - any detailed account of an attack by Paul on the 
statuettes of Artemis. Only in a single sentence is the criticism of idol-worship 
suggested. We may ask whether the author of the API did not wish so far as possible 
to avoid a doublet to Acts I9:23ff. But allusions have not entirely been renounced: 
in PH 1.28 the xcvooxdot, the goldsmiths, appear as the agitators who wish to see 
Paul condemned. The pro-consul finch nothing at all wrong in Paul’s sppech, but 
bows before the determination of the people, who demand that Paul be thrown to the 
beasts. After six days there follows the procession of the animals, among whom a lion 
especially attracts attention. His roaring startles even Paul, who in his prison is deep 
in prayer. Here is inserted a story about the conversion and baptism of Artemilla, the 
wife of Hieronymus 17 Artemilla is informed of Paul' s preaching and activity through 
Eubula. the wife of Diophantes, a freedman of the proconsul, and wishes to make the 
apostle's acquaintance herself. A short address by Paul, in which he urges flight from 
and contempt for the world, brings about her desire for baptism, which takes place 
amid all kinds of wonderful phenomena and with the assistance of Christ himself. 
After the celebration of the euchanst with bread and water, Artemilla goes back to 
her house and Paul in prison returns to his prayers. M In the whole story Eubula plays 
no further part. It is a conversion-story, in which a prominent lady comes to the 
Christian faith. Difficulties are created only by the lines on PH p. 3.1-4, according 
to which Diophantes informs the proconsul that the women are sitting day and night 
with Paul. Hieronymus thereupon interrupts his meal in order to hasten on the fight 
with the beasts. These lines not only break the connection, but do not at all fit what 
has gone before. The whole story is played out in one night (Saturday to Sunday), 
while in these lines it is said of the two women that they stayed a longer time with 
Paul. It is thus possible to take these lines as a secondary insertion, but a better 
assumption is that the contradiction has arisen from the fact that the author has here 
worked together two different traditions, but has not quite succeeded. On the one 
hand he had before him, perhaps in the setting of the Ephesus episode, a story about 
the occasion for the persecution of the apostle, i.e. about the jealousy of Diophantes (a 
favourite motif in all apocryphal Acts), on the other he may have lit upon a conversion 
story linked with the name of Artemilla. At all events I see here again an indication of the 
author’s methods of working, making use in his composition of older traditions. 

This is to a certain extent confirmed by some observations on the following text. 


The Acts of Paul 

Next morning we come to the fight with the beasts, and here Paul meets the lion he 
had baptized. Since the lion does nothing to harm the apostle, other animals are 
released. But a violent hailstorm brings to nothing all efforts to make away with Paul. 
Paul takes leave of the lion, who goes back to the mountains while the apostle mingles 
with those who are fleeing in terror of the fall of the city, and embarks cm a ship for 
Macedonia. Now in this story notes about Hieronymus and Diophantes, or about 
Artemilla and Eubula, are interspersed (PH p. 4, 8-11; 4, 14-18), and after Paul's 
departure we are told how Artemilla and Eubula were in sorrow and mourning for 
him, but were comforted by an angel (PH p. 5.1 9ff .). Unfortunately the end of PH 
p. 5 has come down to us in very bad condition. But it seems to describe how 
Hieronymus called upon the God of Paul for help for his ear, injured in the hailstorm, 
and how the ear was then healed. Schmidt has described these last notices as a brief 
‘Epilogue, concerned with the other leading figures in the Ephesus story' (nil, p. 
94). This is certainly correct if we look at the composition as a whole. The question 
however remains, whether the author has not here also laid hold of a tradition which 
he himself was the first to bring into connection with the fight with the beasts in 
Ephesus. At any rate this conjecture has much in its favour. 

The structure of this section is thus clear, but the problem of the use of tradition 
in its composition is also evident. The inspiration for the formation of this story of 
Paul's fight with the beasts may be sought in various NT passages: 1 Cor. 15:32; 2 
Tim. 4:17; and above all Acts 19:23ff., but in these passages we can see no more than 
the initial impulse for this episode. The decisive motives were certainly different. 24 

8. Paul in Philippi. From Ephesus Paul set out by ship for Macedonia, i.e. 
probably for Philippi (PH p. 5.15ff.), but curiously we leam nothing from PH about 
Paul’s stay in this city. On the contrary the next episode. ‘From Philippi to Corinth’, 
follows directly on p. 6 of PH. i.e. on the back of p. 5. A whole section has thus been 
omitted in this manuscript. We cannot say why nothing is reported in PH of this 
station in Paul’s journey, nor can we determine the extent of the missing narrative. 
W. RordorP 0 assumes a gap of considerable size, and would see here probably the 
break between the report of API, which corresponds to the third missionary journey 
(Acts 19-20), and a renewed missionary journey after Paul’s release from prison in 
Rome (i.e. after Acts 28). This however is scarcely capable of proof, even though 
some particular arguments deserve consideration (e.g. the differences between 
PHeid pp. 45-50 and pp. 41-44, and between the persons mentioned in 3 Cor. and 
those in PH). In view of the author’s way of working, these differences are probably 
not to be taken too seriously. It has already been said above (p. 225) that we must be 
very cautious in our use of the Pastorals and the Acts of Titus. 

For the moment it remains a riddle why Philippi is missing in PH. Various 
explanations offer themselves for its solution: it could have been external reasons 
(e.g. the size of the book) that led to the omission. Or the episode was already missing 
in the Vorlage from which PH was copied. It is also possible that offence taken at the 
contents tod to the abbreviation (3 Cor. according to PHeid belongs to this section). 

However that may be, we cannot deduce from PH what took place in Philippi. 
Only a reference in Paul's report in Corinth (PH p. 6.5) indicates that in Philippi the 
apostle suffered much. 

PHeid also, however, allows us to extract only a little for this part of tire API. The 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

beginning of PHeid p. 45 - the page on which 3 Cor. begins with its preamble - is so 
fragmentary that we can do nothing with it. We learn from the introductory narrative 
to 3 Cor. that people in Corinth were very anxious about Paul, even though his 
deliverance had been announced through a special revelation, and that on the other 
hand there was an urgent need for the apostle's presence to head the resistance to false 
teachers. Accordingly a letter was written to Paul and brought by Threptus and 
Eutychus to Philippi, where Paul was a prisoner ‘because of Stratonice, the wife of 
Apollophanes’ (3 Cor. 2:2). Evidently events thus took the same course at Philippi 
as at many other places: the preaching of continence met with success among the 
women, but aroused the men against the apostle. Paul now answers the Corinthians 
and attempts to refute the false doctrine, largely, it must be said, in summary and 
apodeictic fashion and only in his argument on the question of the resurrection in a 
rather more judicious and lively way. 

With the end of 3 Cor. the tradition regrettably once more breaks off, so that we 
hear nothing of the delivery of the letter and its outcome. The conclusion of the 
Philippi episode is however extant: PHeid pp. 41 /42 and 44. Admittedly these pages 
also are not preserved complete, but the course of events appears to be as follows. 
Paul is working in the mines (?), but has apparently still found time to preach. At any 
rate reference is made to one Frontina who with Paul is to be put to death by her father 
Longinus, presumably because she has allowed herself to be converted by Paul's 
preaching. We then come to the execution, which Paul somehow or other escapes, 
while Frontina dies. In response to Paul’s prayer (and that of her mother Firmilla?) 
Frontina is restored to life again, which occasions great alarm among the inhabitants. 
Paul leads Frontina to her father's house amid the acclamation of the crowd. In 
Longinus’ house a celebration of the eucharist seems then to have taken place, and 
thereafter Paul departs for Connth. 

Even ifwe can conjecture some things on the analogy of otherepisodes, our knowledge 
of the narrative of the API in this area remains on the whole very defective. 

This section however presents, through 3 Cor., a particularly difficult problem. 
The transmission of this complex has already been discussed above (p. 217). The 
question is how we are to assess this tradition. After the discovery of PHeid it seemed 
clear that 3 Cor. was unambiguously a part of the API, and had passed from there into 
the Syriac and Armenian Bible. From the East the letters somehow found their way 
to the West (North Italy?). The intervening material survived wily in Z as a remnant 
of the older stage of the tradition. The discovery of PH, in which 3 Cor. together with 
the whole Philippi episode is missing, could not contribute much fora solution of the 
problem. Now through PBodm a Greek witness from the 3rd century became known, 
which presents only the two letters. In itself this could be an early extract from the 
API, but there is no kind of evidence for this assumption. The problem of 3 Cor. has 
been examined afresh in a comprehensive way by A.FJ. Klijn and W. Rordorf.’ 1 
These two scholars think that we must see in 3 Cor. an independent text, which was 
only subsequently brought into connection with the API. There are in fact several 
things which tell in favour of this view (above all differences of substance between 
3 Cor. and PH), but we cannot enter into them here. On the basis of the work of Klijn 
and Rordorf we may assume - with all due caution - that the correspondence between 
Paul and the Corinthians had an origin all its own. It was then at some point brought 


The Acts of Paul 

into connection with the API. It may be recalled that PBodm (Greek text of the letters 
without the intervening material) derives from the 3rd cent; PH (Greek text of the 
API without 3 Cor.) was written in the 4th cent.; PHeid (Coptic text of the API with 
3 Cor.) catne into being in the 6th cent 

The differences between 3 Cor. and the other parts of the API, which Klijn and Rocxkxf 

have rifyit with in detail, are certainly of varying weight. The identification of the 
theological fronts and Rordotfs early dating are also not beyond ail doubt But the view 
that 3 Cor. belonged in origin to the API can probably no longer be maintained. 

It certainly remains enigmatic why the complex turns up in the Coptic PHeid and 
the letters with the intervening material then appear in A, E and Z, but not in the rest 
of the tradition. With the material at our disposal an explanation cannot for the present 
be given for this.” 

9. Paid in Corinth. According to PHeid p. 44 Paul’s stay in Corinth follows 
immediately on the episode at Philippi. That this is correct is evident from the rubric 
in PH p. 6: ‘From Philippi to Corinth’. Although imperfect, the text of the section 
is well enough preserved for the march of events to be clear. Paul comes in Corinth 
to the house of Epiphanius, preaches there, and then prepares for his departure for 
Rome. The community is dismayed at the prospect of this journey to Rome, but is 
comforted by a Spirit-inspired address by one Cleobius.” In the course of a 
celebration of the eucharist something happens, which is interpreted by a certain 
Myrta. 34 Thereafter the meal proceeds. On the Day of Preparation Paul sets out and 
indeed - in contrast to the canonical Acts - as a free man. 

This section is striking in the first place through its brevity and also through the 
absence of any miraculous acts by Paul. Although the apostle stays forty days with 
the brethren, we are told only of his sermons which, curious to relate, do not appear 
to enter at all upon the difficulties with the gnostic heretics to which reference was 
made in 3 Cor., but are dedicated above all to Paul’s experiences and to the divine 
benevolence shown in these experiences. ‘The theme of his preaching is persever¬ 
ance (unopovr))’ (Schmidt, nil, p. 101), but over and above that also the providence 
of God, who is carrying through His obtovopux, i.e. His plan of salvation (PH p. 6.26 
and already PH p. 5.27). 

The meagre presentation of the apostle ’ s stay in Corinth stands in striking contrast 
to the significance which Corinth and the Christian community there had for Paul 
according to Acts and the canonical letters to the Corinthians. The reasons for this 
can only be conjectured. It could be that in view of the many reports about Corinth 
in the New Testament the author, who had indeed no intention of providing a 
substitute for Acts but probably knew it and the Pauline letters, wished to content 
himself with a brief account. We might see another explanation in trie fact that for 
the presbyter in Asia Minor who composed the API there was not so much legendary 
material available for this period in Paul’s life as was the case for his own home 
province. Finally we may also refer to the fact that this section gives the impression 
of being a transition to the martyrdom in Rome, i.e. in this short passage the author 
is already steering towards the conclusion of his work. 

No matter which of these conjectures accurately describes the reason for this 
astonishing brevity, one thing is clean the author does not make Paul come to Corinth 
for tire first time at this point in his work. The apostle indeed (as also in other places) 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

comes upon a Christian community, and thus does not require first to lay the 
foundation for a community through the conversion of one or more people. Whether 
there was mention in the API of an earlier activity of the apostle in Corinth, and in 
which of the present lacunae such a report might have stood, it is impossible to say. 
It may be noted further that 3 Cor. speaks unambiguously for an earlier sojourn by 
Paul in Corinth. The heresy which breaks out in Corinth is characterised by the fact 
that it is something new, something which the community has not heard from Paul 
(3 Cor. 1,4f.). But naturally we cannot say whether this statement is formulated on 
the basis of a report in the API about Paul’s first sojourn in Corinth. 

10. From Corinth to Italy. The journey from Corinth to Italy is preserved in PH 
pp. 7-8, to which we may add some fragments in PHeid pp. 72-74. Paul travels to Italy 
on a ship whose captain Artemon has been baptized by Peter. On the way the Lord 
appears to him, and his sombre countenance startles Paul. To his question as to the 
reason, the Lord answers: “I am on the point of being crucified afresh” (dvtuOev 
p&Aui otovqoOoOcu). Without touching upon Paul's protest, Christ gives to the 
apostle the injunction to exhort the brethren, and escorts the ship to Italy. The place 
of landing is not stated; presumably the author himself did not know, or else he 
assumed Puteoli as a matter of course (cf. Acts 28:13). On landing Artemon is 
awaited by a man named Claudius, introduces Paul to him, and the two cany the 
apostle’s baggage ashore. In Claudius’ house Paul teaches “the word of truth”. The 
sermon here presented contains first of all an Old Testament section, in which God’s 
dealing with Israel is depicted as exemplary of God' s faithfulness, while in the second 
part Christ is spoken of. Unfortunately the text in PH breaks off in the middle of the 
sermon. The papyrus leaf PM (= PB + PM 1 + PM2) and PHeid pp. 79/80 belong in 
this cootext. The gap between this section and the report ofthe martyrdom is probably 
largely filled up thereby (cf. below, p. 259f.). Paul’s speech, which breaks off with 
PH p. 8 and is continued in the fragments of PM and PHeid, could have been 
conceived by the author of the API as a conclusion and at the same time as the 
transition to the MP. It cannot be said whether Paul’s speech in Miletus (Acts 20) 
provided the impulse. At any rate it looks as if in the API nothing would have been 
reported about any further activity of the apostle before his entry into Rome. 

The short report of Paul’s journey to Italy also presents a problem of its own. in 
that here we find a doublet to the famous Quo Vadis scene in the Acts of Peter (Mart. 
Petr. c. 6). With this scene we shall no here deal in detail. In regard to the problem 
of the composition, however, we must note the following points: The description in 
the API shows clearly that it is secondary as compared with the APt. Above all, the 
reference to the crucifixion is in place in the APt, since Peter too was crucified, but 
no in the API, since Paul was beheaded. In addition this scene fits in well in die APt, 
while in the API it seems to be a foreign body. 15 At all events the author of the API has 
borrowed from the APt It is therefore no improbable that Schmidt's conjecture iscorrect. 
that the captain Artemon is the Theon of the APt (Schmidt, nn, pp. 128f.). 

11. Martyrdom of Paul. This part of the API was probably separated from the 
work as a whole at an early date, since it was used for reading on the day of 
commemoration of the apostle. The tradition and also the further use and elaboration 
(cf. for example Schmidt, AP pp. 11 8ff.; nil, pp. !24f.) show the Martyrdom 
becoming an independent work. The text early ran wild, and this makes reconstitu- 


The Acts of Paul 

tion difficult. That it originally belonged to the API is certain from PHeid and PH, 
although in both witnesses the beginning is unfortunately missing and Paul’s 
progress from Puteoli (?) to Rome has thus not been preserved. 

In Rome Paul is awaited by Luke and Titus (in the Acts of Titus c. 6, where again 
the AH has been used, Timothy also is named). Paul rents a bam and there teaches 
’the word of truth’ with great success. This introduction was probably shaped with 
Acts 28:30f. in mind. Then follows the story of the death of Patroclus, an imperial 
cup-bearer, and his revival. 1 * Since Patroclus confesses his Christianity before Nero, 
persecution breaks out In the course of it Paul too is brought to trial, and as ringleader 
is condemned to death by the sword while the other Christians are to suffer death by 
fire. 17 This is not quite logical, since surely death by decapitation was thought of as 
the less severe penalty. It was however in the tradition before the author that Paul was 
beheaded. Nero’s fury against the Christians is brought to a check by the protests of 
the people, but the judgment against Paul is allowed to stand. In prison Paul preaches 
to the Prefect Longus and the centurion Cestus (in particular about the resurrection), 
and promises them that they will receive baptism at his grave. After a long prayer 
by Paul his execution follows, and in the course of it milk spurts on to the soldiers’ 
clothes. Soon thereafter Paul appears to Nero, who in consternation sets the prisoners 
free. The narrative ends with the scene at Paul’s grave: Longus and Cestus go there 
and meet Titus and Luke, who take to flight but are reassured and then administer 
baptism to the other two. 

By and large, the MP gives the impression of being a uniform work, complete 
in itself. Some passages admittedly are thoroughly clumsy, and one might conjecture 
that different traditions which originally had nothing to do with one another have here 
been brought together (the story of Patroclus, the conversion of Longus and Cestus, 
the martyrdom of Paul). But whether this was done by the author of the API or had 
already been achieved before him we cannot say. The composition of the whole scene 
probably derives from the author (cf. Schubart, IHl, p. 123), but it must be said that 
here at the conclusion of his work he has not accomplished any masterly perform¬ 
ance. The question how far he was able to rely on local Roman tradition cannot be 
confidently answered. 

Like the author of the APt in his account of Peter ’ s end (cf. below, p. 311 ff.), the 
author of the API also could in the MP make use of certain models for guidance 
(Martyrdom of Polycarp, Martyrdom of Peter). 

Summary. 1. As already said, the detailed presentation of the composition and 
structure of the AM on the basis of the extant material can only be an attempt. We 
can reconstruct particular sections, and also link together a series of halting-places. 
But great gaps remain, about the extent and content of which we can only advance 
conjectures. The question can also be raised whether the API was not already 
abbreviated (PH) or expanded (3 Cor.) in early times. However, we do not have the 
necessary witnesses for a history of the transmission of this work. How much of the 
ancient API has been lost cannot be exactly determined. According to the Sdchometry 
of Nicephorus the book extended to 3600 lines, the canonical Acts on the other hand 
only to 2800. Even though we do not know in what version Nicephorus saw the API, 
it is still clear that a considerable part of the text is missing. 

2. From the extant material the route of Paul’s journey in the API is: Damascus 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

- Jerusalem - Antioch (which?) - Icoruum • Antioch (which?) - Myra - Sidon - Tyre. 
Here there is a yawning gap which cannot be filled. Then follow Smyrna - Ephesus 

- Philippi - Corinth - Italy - Rome. The texts before us up to now arouse the impression 
that the author wished to present one great journey by the apostle. Paul appears to 
have travelled from place to place without any fixed base of operations, such as 
Antioch was for a time according to Acts. Journey - preaching - persecution - miracle 

- departure follow one another in almost schematic fashion.’* In the extant parts there 
is no mention of a repeated sojourn in any one place. This does not however mean 
that Paul was not several times at one place (this can be assumed at any rate for 
Antioch and Corinth); only thus far there are no certain clues for this. Nor can we fill 
the gaps with the aid of the hypothesis of a twofold imprisonment of the apostle. 

3. It is striking that Paul in the API often finds a community already in existence 
in the place be is visiting (Icoruum, Ephesus, Puteoli, Rome). This probably means 
that the author has no intention of describing the history of the Pauline mission 
throughout the world, ‘even to the ends of the earth’, on the basis of some leading 
theme (such as Acts 1:8), but that his real interest is in the individual stories. These 
pieces, gathered and worked up by the author, are held together by his concern to 
sketch a picture of Paul, in an edifying, instructive and entertaining form and drawing 
on literary Gattungen of the time, which would correspond to Church ideas in the 
second half of the 2nd century, but not to the reality of the apostle’s own lifetime. 
* Paul is not theologically assessed, but hagiographically claimed for popular piety. ’ * 
His activity is set in the frame of the established Church. It is however striking that 
Church offices or forms of organisation find no mention (only in 3 Cor. is there 
reference to offices). This may be connected with the fact that the literary genus and 
the process of tradition lying behind the author’s own literary work were determined 
by the individual narratives; the theological motives, which are not indeed lacking 
and find expression above all in the speeches, are to be exhibited by way of example 
in the several destinies of the persons involved. The fact that the debate with Judaism, 
so important for Paul, does not appear in the API shows that - despite older tradition which 
the author has taken up- the work belongs in alater time, and that even the traditions which 
are worked up in it do not reach back to the period of primitive Christianity. 

4. It is understandable that the relation of the API to Luke’s Acts (and to the rest 
of the NT) has always been the subject of special interest. After all, it is ultimately 
a question of the apostle Paul, a central figure in the NT. It would be natural to think 
that the author of this ‘romance’ joined forces with the Lucan model. After the 
discovery of PHeid, C. Schmidt expressed himself forcefully in favour of the 
dependence of the API upon Acts, then after the appearance of PH somewhat 
modified this opinion, but still maintained it,despite the arguments of W. Schubart, 
the co-editor of PH. 40 Against this 1 have attempted to explain the agreements and 
the differences between the API and Acts on the basis that the author of the API 
probably did know Acts, but is not Literarily dependent on it; rather he used traditions 
that were in circulation about Paul and his work. 41 W. Rordorf considers this 
interpretation incorrect, and affirms that the author of the API did not know Acts. The 
few parallels which might perhaps be adduced for such knowledge are to be 
explained on tire basis that behind both writings there stands a common tradition. 
Rordorf would also draw from this interpretation certain consequences for the dating 


The Acts of Paul 

of the API (AH: middle of 2nd cent.; Acts: first half of 2nd cent.). 42 

This question cannot be discussed in detail here. It may only be remarked that 
knowledge of Acts is probably to be assumed in a Church ‘novel’ writer at the end 
of the 2nd century (this is to be firmly held as the date for the API). On the other side 
the literary genus, the aims in view, and the completely different situation tell in 
favour of literary independence. In any case knowledge of Acts and independent 
shaping of the API are not mutually exclusive. 

5. In the AH there are many passages which in vocabulary recall the language 
of the NT, without being direct quotations. Only in the beatitudes in AThe Sf. are 
there two sentences which agree word for word with Mt. 5:8 and 5:9. This means that 
the author of the AH was at home in a community in which a churchly devotional 
terminology was familiar. This took shape in the course of the 2nd century - not least 
under the influence of the NT Canon and the liturgy. We find the beginnings of it 
already in Acts. Now this is of significance for the question of the use of the NT by 
the API, because we cannot prove with certainty the use of particular passages; often 
it is rather only a question of the use of the current devotional language. This naturally 
does not exclude a knowledge of the NT writings, even though nothing can be said 
about the extent of the canon known to the author. It is however also clear from the 
language that the author wanted his work to have an edifying and instructive effect. 
Finally, it is also difficult to demonstrate on this basis the unity of the work. We may 
however start out from the position that the API in their present form (apart from 3 
Cor) are linguistically the work of one author. 

5. Theological tendency: The API is not a theological treatise, but a religious 
tract. The author certainly binds up with it certain definite ecclesiastical and 
theological purposes, and it is based upon a certain theological knowledge, but it was 
intended in the first instance for the edifying and entertainment of the community. 
This means that we do the author an injustice, and put the wrong questions to him, 
when we seek to extract a theological system from his work. Thus the attempt by 
Loofs to claim the API also as a witness for his theory of a Spint-Christology 41 is 
extremely questionable. Peterson's attempt to determine the place of the API in the 
history of theology also seems to me mistaken. 44 Peterson thinks that the API, like 
the other apocryphal Acts, belong to the domain of Encratism which is associated 
with the name of Tatian. Here however he has in my view attributed to the AH too 
great a theological significance. Many traits which are interpreted by Peterson as 
esoteric ‘symbolism’ admit of a much simpler explanation, as the graphic style of 
popular narrative (e.g. Artemilla’s change of clothing, PH p. 2.16; cf. Peterson, op. 
cit. 183f.). More recently Han J.W. Drijvers has taken up again and modified 
Peterson’s theses, 45 in an interpretation of the story of the baptized lion. Drijvers 
would see in the lion (before his baptism) the symbol for death and sexuality. After 
baptism the lion then represents life, and hence can also save Paul’s life in the conflict 
with the beasts. The API, Drijvers thinks, are on the one hand a popular devotional 
book, but on the other hand could also be read ‘on a different symbolic level'. Here 
considerable significance attaches to the connections with the Acts of Thomas, 
which are not to be interpreted in terms of literary dependence. The question is 
whether we can draw conclusions so far-reaching from a single episode. It is indeed 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

rather the case that the story of the baptized bon, bite many other parts of the API, 
belongs to the Gattung of popular legend, in which specific practical intentions (here 
above all the emphasis on continence) are not excluded. 

We must therefore, in conformity with the bterary peculiarity of the API, 
renounce any attempt at illegitimate systematisation, and content ourselves with die 
indication of certain theological tendencies, which often indeed appear to contradict 
one another (much material is collected in Schmidt, AP pp. 183ff.). 

Christian preaching for the author of the API is preaching of continence and of 
the resurrection (AThe 5). In practically every episode the motif of sexual continence 
plays a dominant role. This demand, and the apostle’s success in preaching it, are 
often the occasion for persecution. The basis of this attitude is the conviction that the 
goods of this world are worthless and unprofitable, that salvation Ues in the world 
to come, and that all depends on the securing of this other-worldly salvation (which 
in pan appears to be envisaged as the survival of the immortal soul). From the 
beatitudes in AThe Sf. it is dear how the hope of glory with God is combined with 
the injunction to sexual purity. The resurrection is held out as the goal and the reward 
for those who keep themselves pure and set their hope on God and on Christ. 

The Christology of the AP can scarcely be set out unambiguously in terms of die later 
dogmatic decisions.The most important statement for the author is that Christ is Lord, not 
only the Lord of his Church, bin also of the world, of life and death. If these christological 
statements frequently appear to be in conflict with monotheism, this is not a peculiarity 
of the API but belongs to the problem presented by early Christian Christology as a whole. 
Of a well-marked Logos Christology there is in the API hardly any trace. 

W. Rordorf, without fundamentally calling in question the general characterisa¬ 
tion of the AP! given here, attempts to work out the ‘something of his own’ which 
according to Tertullian the presbyter in Asia Minor wished to add to the prestige of 
Paul, in order to determine more exactly the place of the API in Church history. 4 * He 
points to some important features in this work, in which this ‘something of his own* 
stands out particularly clearly. These are: the role of the Holy Spirit and its 
consequences; the ascetic demands; the uses in Church worship (eucharist with water 
and bread); the absence of reference to Church offices; the detailed knowledge of the 
OT, which seems to go back to Jewish-Christian circles. According to Rordorf, all 
these features point to Montanism. ‘Then that “something of his own” which the 
presbyter in Asia added to the apostolic romance would have to be sought in the 
Montanist ideas which he sought to disseminate under the cloak of the apostle. ’ This 
hypothesis probably still requires a more searching scrutiny. Here it may only be 
noted: apart from the fact that the problem of Montanism has as yet by no means been 
unambiguously explained, the similarity which Rordorf has worked out can also be 
accounted for on the view that particular forms of piety were also represented 
elsewhere in the Church in the 2nd century, outside of the 'Phrygian prophecy’. It 
does not seem to me possible to demonstrate specifically Montanist ideas in the API. 

6. Author, date and place of origin: according to the testimony ofTertullian (see 
above, p. 214) the author of the API was a presbyter in Asia Minor, who was rewarded 
for his work by deposition from his office but not apparently by expulsion from the 
Church. This we can understand if we bear in mind the theological tendencies - which 
are really not heretical - but on the other hand observe what offence must have been 


The Acts of Paul 

occasioned on a more rigorous examination by certain particular traits in the API. We 
need recall only Thecla’s baptism of herself and the baptized lion. In addition, 
comparison with the canonical Acts was very natural, and from this the API must have 
come out rather badly. Certainly the author acted in all good faith when ‘out of love 
for Paul’ he gathered up whatever legends were in circulation, set them in order, and 
also surely elaborated and expanded them. For in so doing he wished to confirm the 
communities in the true Christian faith. 

Of the person of the author nothing more can be said. His native land was Asia 
Minor. This is not only stated by Tertullian, but may also be seen from the work itself. 
So far as we can see, it is the places visited in Asia Minor about which the author has 
most to tell, whereas for Corinth he has less to offer and hence in part makes use of 
the APt. A more precise location is scarcely possible, even though we may be inclined 
to think of Iconium or Seleucia. But this remains conjecture. 

The date likewise cannot be precisely determined. We can only say that the API 
must have been written before 200, the approximate date ofTertullian’s deBaptismo. 
Since on the other hand it is dependent on the APt, the period between 185 and 195 may 
be regarded as a possible estimate. An earlier dating (Rordorf) scarcely admits of poof. 47 



1. Cf. S.L. Davies, Semeia 38, 139ff.. also the response by T.W. MacKay, ib. 145ff. 

2. On Nicetas cf. H.O. Beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzanlinischen Reich. 
1959.548f. - Edition by A. Vogt, 1931 (see Lit. above). 

3. On the attestation of the API cf. also Vouaux 24-69; Schmidt. AP 108-116; nil 85ff. 

4. PB and PM1: H.A. Sanders. ‘A Fragment of the Acta Pauli in the Michigan Collection’, 
Harv. Theol. Rev. 31.1938.70-90; PM2: G.D. Kilpatrick and C.H. Roberts. ’The Acta Pauli: 
A New Fragment*, ITS 37, 1946, 196-199; on this see W.D. McHardy, Expos. Times 58, 
1947.279. For these fragments as belonging together cf. W. Rordorf, ‘Les Actes de Paul sur 
papyrus’ (see above, p. 214). 

5. K): Sanders, op. cit. (note 4). 79. 

6. On 3 Cor. and its transmission cf. A.F J. Klijn, ‘The Apocryphal Correspondence between 
Paul and the Corinthians’, VigChr 17, 1963, 2-23; W. Rordorf. ’Hdresie et Orthodoxie 

(in the press); there also lit Particularly important: M. Testuz, Papyrus Bodmer X-XJl, 
Geneva 1959.7-45. 

7.1 would at this point cordially thank Prof. Rordorf. who has greatly helped me by sending 
his works (some still not published) produced in connection with the preparation of the new 
edition of the API. Even if I cannot follow Rordorf in some points, his contributions and 
discussion with him have facilitated and advanced my work. 

8. Fasting plays a large part in the API as a whole. 

9. The statement in the Acts of Titus c. 3 (Halkin. p. 245) that Paul 'first preached the Word 
of Christ in Damascus' need not go back to the API, even if the following sentence derives 
therefrom. On the Acts of Titus, cf. below, pp. 219f. 

10. Acts 9:30: Jerusalem-Tarsus; 11:25f.: Tarsus-Syrian Antioch; 11:27ff.: Paul's journey 
with Barnabas to Jerusalem; 12:24f.: return; 13: Antioch-Seleucia-Cyprus-Perga-Pisidian 

11. Cf. the variants to this passage in Lipsius, Aa I, 253; Gebhardt xcviii. 

12. Ed. F. Halkin, AnalBoll 79,1961,241-256. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

13. The name Panchares is rendered in the Coptic as Anchares, i.e. the Coptic translator 
regarded the P at the beginning as the article; cf. Schmidt, nn 1 IS. 

14. Td xaxa tov flcrOXcrv in the Acts of Titus is probably a condensation of * 0 x 0 x 65 towv 
tfl dbiq 6 riauXo? in AThe. 

15. It may be recalled that between PH p. S and p. 6 a whole episode has evidently been 
omitted, cf. above, p. 227. PH however bears in the colophon the designation ripd^eu; 
riavXou, and thus is probably not intended to be an extract. 

16. In later legends this conclusion is greatly altered and expanded. Cf. BHG’ II, 267ff., also 
the works of G. Dagron and R. Albrecht. 

17. Kasser (Acta Pauli 1939,37) raises for discussion the question whether such sections as 
the AThe were not originally published independently, and only later joined together with 
other pieces to make the API. This is possible, but perhaps is to think too much in modem 
terms. Cf. Rordorf, ‘Tradition et composition .. . ' 279; also above, pp. 23If. 

18. Cf. Schubart's demonstration, nn, 120ff. 

19. Cf. the works of R. Albrecht, V. Burrus, S.L. Davies and D.R. MacDonald. Rordorf also 
considers this position worthy of consideration, e.g. ‘Tradition et composition ... * 280ff. 
Only there is unfortunately no evidence from the sources of the period which could be 
adduced for a ‘women's liberation movement' in the Church of the 2nd century. 

20. Cf. Th. Zahn. Geschichte des nti Kanons II 1,1890,892(T.. W.M Ramsay. The Church in 
the Roman Empire before AD. 170, 1893,375flf.; Rordorf. Tradition et composition. .. ’ 275ff- 

21. Text: PG 50, cols. 745ff. and M. Aubineau, ‘Le Pandgyrique de Thbcle attribud k Jean 
Chrysostome (BHG 1720): la fin retrouvdc d’un texte mutild’, AnalBoll93, 1975.349-362. 
Cf. also D.R. MacDonald and AD. Scnmgeour, Semeut 38,15 Iff.; Kasser (Acta Pauli 1939. 
49. n. 44) conjectures that the conclusion of the narrative in ps.-Chrysostom reflects the 
original version of the legend. But this cannot be proved. 

22. The cult of Thee la cannot be dealt with here. Cf. already Peregnnatio Aetheriae 22f. (CSEL 
39.69f.); BHG’ 11,267 269 (lists all the relevant texts). Further literature: Lcclercq. DACL XV/ 
2,cols. 2225fT.; B. Kbtnng, art Thecla', LThK 10.1965. coU. 18f. (LiL); DJC MacDonald and 
A.D. Scrimgcour. Semeia 38.151 ff ; R. Albrecht. Das Leben der Hlg. Makrina , 239ff 

23. Kasser (Acu Pauli 1959. 54 n. 87) asks whether Apphia may not be connected with 
Ammia in PG; but this to me is improbable. 

24. The fragment p. 68 e (Schmidt, AP 65) is interesting: That man is <not justified through 
the law>, but that he is justified cthrough the> works of righteousness'. This shows clearly 
how far removed the author is from the historical Paul. 

25. Rordorf, ‘Nochmals Paulusakten . . . ' 323f. 

26. On Caesarea cf. Kasser, Acta Pauli 1959, 50 n. 46 and 51 n. 61. For this question the 
'Letter of Pelagia', preserved in Ethiopic. has a certain significance, but into this I cannot 
enter here. It need only be remarked that this apocryphon. which unfortunately can neither 
be dated nor localised, made use of the API. When the meeting between Paul and the lion 
is there transferred to the region of Caesarea, this probably goes back to the compiler, 
conclusions as to the composition of the API cannot be drawn from this. Cf. E.J. Goods peed, 
American Journal ofSemitic Languages and Literatures XX, 1904,95ff.; English trans. also 
in Schmidt AP. 2nd ed. xxi-xxv; G. Kruger. ZNW 5, 1904, 261ff.; Schmidt, mi 87ff. 

27. On the baptism of Artemi Ha cf. G. Poupon, L’accusation ..' (see Lit above) 86-93. 

28. PH 4.2fT. remains obscure: Artemi I la goes into the house (which? her house or the 
prison?). The eucharist probably takes place in the prison. 

29. The baptized lion referred to in this story, the baptism of which is reported in PG, 
naturally enjoyed a special popularity, but also gave offence. Cf, the compilation in Schmidt, 
nn 85ff.; B.M. Metzger, 'St Paul and the baptized lion’, Princeton Seminary Bulletin 
XXXIX, 1945,11-21; W. Schneemelcher, ‘Dergetaufte Lowe...' (see Lit. above). HJ.W. 
Drijvers, 'Der getaufte Lowe und die Theologie der Acta Pauli’ (so far unpublished, to 


The Acts of Paul 

appear in die Acts of the Carl Schmidt Colloquium, Halle 1988.1 thank Prof. Drijvers for 
making the manuscript available to me). 

30. W. Rordorf, 'Nochmals Paulusakten ... ‘ 323f. 

31. Cf. above, note 6. 

32. On the problem how 3 Cor. came into the Syrian Church, cf. W. Bauer. Rechigldubigketi 
undKetzerei, *1964,45-48 (ET1971,39-43). Bauer sees 3 Cor. as a fixed element in the API. 
In the translation below I have placed 3 Cor. as the text is transmitted in PHeid. The reader 
is requested to bear in mind the reservations expressed above. 

33. One of the false teachers who came to Corinth is named Cleobius (3 Cor. 1.4). Is the 
Cleobius mentioned in PHeid p. 51.7 - now a speaker filled with the Spirit-the same person? 

34. Kasser (Acta Pauli 1959,52 n. 68): ‘ une proph^ tie est exprimfee par un rameau de myrte ’. 
This however does not seem to be correct. 

35. One should not argue, as Michaelis (327ff.) does, on the basis that Jidkiv stands in the 
APt, whereas in the API it is dvtuBev. On the meaning of the word dvuifcv (often equivalent 
to JidXiv). cf. Bauer-Aland, Wdrterbuch s.v. 

36. Cf. the story of the fall of Eutyches (Acts 20:7-12). 

37. W. Rordorf, 'Die neronische Christenvofolgung ...* (see Lit above) has attempted with the aid 
of MP to bring some Light into the reports aboul the persecution under Nero. 1 am more sceptical. 

38. Kasser (Acta Pauli 1959,48 n. 31) has rightly drawn attention to acertain schemahsation: 
journey - preaching - persecution - miracle. But whether we are to link with this the other 
assumption, that Paul never returned to the same place, remains (as already said) questionable. 

39. E. Dassmann, Der Stachel im Fleisch. Paulas in der fruhckrisilichen Literatur bis 
lrend us. 1979. 279. 

40. Cf. the report in my essay: ‘Die Apostelgeschichte des Lukas und die Acta Pauli’, 238ff. 
(- Ges. Aufs. 207ff.). 

41. Cf. the essay mentioned in note 40. 

42. W. Rordorf. In welchem Verhlltnis ... (see Lit. above). 

43. F. Loofs, Theophilus von Antiochien adversus Marcionem und die anderen theologischen 
Quellen beilrendus (TU 46) 1930. 148-157. 

44. E. Peterson, ’Einige Bemerkungen zum Hamburger Papyrusfragment der Acta Pauli’, 
VigChr 3. 1949. 142-164 (- Fruhkirche, Judentum und Gnosis . 1959, 183-208). On 
Peterson, cf. P. Devos. AnalBoll 69.1951, 119-130. 

45. HJ.W. Drijvers, ’Der getaufte L6we .. . ’ (see above, note 29). 

46. W. Rordorf. ’Was wissen wir ttber Plan . .. ’ (see Lit above). 

47. On the dating of 3 Cor. cf. Rordorf, ‘Hdresie et Orthodoxie . . * (see Lit. above). 
According to Rordorf 3 Cor. belongs in the first half of the 2nd century. 

The Acts of Paul * 


(From Damascus to Jerusalem) 

(Ry; PHeid pp. 60/59 and 61/62; cf. PG. p. 000 below) 

After his conversion outside Damascus Paul receives the command (from whom?) 
to go to Damascus and later to Jerusalem. ‘With great joy’ Ik enters Damascus, and 
finds the community in the (observance?) of fasting. Here probably a sermon before 
the Jews was included. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

On Paul’s journey from Damascus to Jericho (i.e. probably to Jerusalem) the 
baptism of the lion took place, according to Paul' s later account in Ephesus. Whether 
the fragments PHeid pp. 60/59 and 61/62 contain remnants of the description of 
Paul's stay and activity in Jerusalem remains uncertain. 


(Paul in Antioch) 

(PHeid pp. 1-6) 

In Antioch (Syrian or Pisidian? 1 ) Paul raises up a dead boy. The son of Anchares 
(Greek Acts of Titus: Panchares) and Phila has died, and Paul has evidently betaken 
himself to the house of the parents in order to assist, but is prevented by the woman 
(so Schmidt, AP p. 92). Anc hares fasts and prays until the crowd comes to cany out 
his son (who according to the Acts of Titus was called Barnabas). Then Paul comes 
in and - the sequel is unfortunately lost - appears to have raised up the boy. How the 
story proceeded we cannot say. Possibly there was some discussion over the miracle. 
When at PHeid p. 4. 19f. it is said. 

‘<We> believe, Anc harts .... but save the city’ 

this points to occurrences of some kind which alarm the people. Perhaps Paul has 
already left the city, and is now to be brought back. At any rate, according to PHeid 
p. 5, the narrative probably led to a confession by Anc hares, which is now followed 
by the persecution of Paul by the Jews: 

‘And I <also believe>, my <brethren>, <thao there is no other God save 
<Jesus> Christ, the son <of the> Blessed, unto whom is the glory <for ever> 
Amen.’ But when they <observed> that he would not turn to them, they 
pursued Paul, laid hold of him, and brought him back <into> the city, ill- 
using (?) him. (and) they cast stones at him, (and) thrust him out of their city 
and out of their country. 2 But Anchares was not able to requite evil with 
evil. 3 He shut the door <of his house> (and) <went> in with his wife ... 
while he fasted ... 

What follows is so fragmentary that hardly anything can be said about its 
content. The part of the API which was also independently transmitted as Acta 
Pauli et Theclae attaches directly to this scene. PHeid p. 6 presents as a sub¬ 

<After the flight from> Antioch when <he> wanted to go up to Iconium. 


The Acts of Paul 


Acts of Paul and Thee la 1 
(Aa 1, pp. 235-269; PHeid pp. 6-28) 

1. As Paul went up to Iconium after his flight from Antioch, his travelling 
companions were Demas and Hermogenes the copper-smith, 2 who were full 
of hypocrisy and flattered Paul as if they loved him. But Paul, who had eyes 
only for the goodness of Christ, did them no evil, 2 but loved (p. 236) them 
greatly, so that he sought to make sweet to them all the words of the Lord, [of 
the doctrine and of the interpretation of the Gospel], 4 both of the birth and of 
the resurrection of the Beloved, and he related to them word for word the great 
acts of Christ 5 as they had been revealed to him. 

2. And a man named Onesiphorus, 6 who had heard that Paul was come to 
Iconium, 7 went out with his children Simmias and Zeno and his wife Lectra* 
to meet Paul (p. 237), that he might receive him to his house. For Titus had told 
him what Paul looked like. For (hitherto) he had not seen him in the flesh, but 
only in the spirit. 3. And he went along the royal road which leads to Lystra, 
and stood there waiting for him, and looked at (all) who came, according to 
Titus’ description. And he saw Paul coming, a man small of stature, with a bald 
head and crooked legs, in a good state of body, with eyebrows meeting and 
nose somewhat hooked, full of friendliness; for now he appeared like a man, 
and now he had the face of an angel. 9 (p. 238) 

4. And when Paul saw Onesiphorus he smiled; and Onesiphorus said: 
‘Greeting, thou servant of the blessed God!’ And he replied: ‘Grace be with 
thee and thy house! ‘ But Demas and Hermogenes grew jealous, and went even 
further in their hypocrisy; so that Demas said: ‘Are we then not (servants) of 
the Blessed, that thou didst not greet us thus? ’ And Onesiphorus said: * I do not 
see in you any fruit of righteousness; but if ye are anything, come ye also into 
my house and rest yourselves!’ 

5. And when Paul was entered into the house of Onesiphorus there was 
great joy, and bowing of knees and breaking of bread, and the word of God 
concerning continence and the resurrection, as Paul said: 

‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 10 

Blessed are they who have kept the flesh pure, for they shall become a 

temple of God." 

Blessed are the continent, for to them will God speak. 

Blessed are they who have renounced this world, for they shall be well 
pleasing unto God. 

Blessed are they who have wives as if (p. 239) they had them not, for they 
shall be heirs to God. 12 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Blessed are they who have fear of God, for they shall become angels of God. 

6. Blessed are they who tremble at the words of God, for they shall be 
comforted. 13 

Blessed are they who have received (the) wisdom of Jesus Christ, for they 
shall be called sons of the Most High. 14 

Blessed are they who have kept their baptism secure, 15 for they shall rest 
with the Father and the Son. 

Blessed are they who have laid hold upon the understanding of Jesus Christ, 
for they shall be in light. 

Blessed are they who through love of God have departed from the form of 
this world, for they shall judge angels 16 and at the right hand of the Father 
they shall be blessed. 

Blessed are the merciful, for (p. 240) they shall obtain mercy, 17 and shall 
not see the bitter day of judgment. 

Blessed are the bodies of the virgins, for they shall be well pleasing to God, 
and shall not lose the reward of their purity. 11 

For the word of the Father shall be for them a work of salvation in the day 
of his Son, and they shall have rest 19 for ever and ever.’ 

7. And while Paul was thus speaking in the midst of the assembly in the 
house of Onesiphoms, a virgin (named) Thee la - her mother was Theocleia - 
who was betrothed to a man (named) Thamyris, sat at a near-by window and 
listened night and day to the word of the virgin life as it was spoken by Paul; 
and she did not turn away from the window (p. 241), but pressed on in the faith 
rejoicing exceedingly. Moreover, when she saw many women and virgins 
going in to Paul she desired to be counted worthy herself to stand in Paul’s 
presence 20 and hear the word of Christ; for she had not yet seen Paul in person, 
but only heard his word. 8. Since however she did not move from the window, 
her mother sent to Thamyris. He came in great joy as if he were already taking 
her in marriage. So Thamyris said to Theocleia ‘ Where is my Thecla, that I may 
see her?’ 21 And 22 Theocleia said: * I have a new tale to tell thee, Thamyris. For 
indeed for three days and three nights Thecla has not risen from the window 
either to eat or to drink, but gazing steadily as if on some joyful spectacle she 
so devotes herself to a strange man who teaches deceptive and subtle words that 
I wonder how a maiden [of such modesty] as she is can be so sorely troubled, 
(p. 242) 9. Thamyris, this man is upsetting the city of the Iconians, and thy 
Thecla in addition; for all the women and young people go in to him, and are 
taught by him. “You must” he says, “fear one single God only, and live 
chastely.” And my daughter also, who sticks to the window like a spider, is 
(moved) by his words (and) gripped by a new desire and a fearful passion; for 
the maiden hangs upon the things he says, and is taken captive. But go thou 
to her and speak to her, for she is betrothed to thee.’ 10. And Thamyris went 


The Acts of Paul 

to her, at one and the same time loving ter and yet afraid of ter distraction, and 
said: ‘Theela, my betrothed, why dost thou sit thus? And what is this passion 
that holds thee distracted? Turn to thy Thamyris and be ashamed.' And ter 
mother also said the same: 'Child, why dost thou sit thus (p. 243) looking down 
and making no answer, but like one stricken?' And those who were in the house 
wept bitterly, Thamyris for the loss of a wife, Theocleia for that of a daughter, 
the maidservants for that of a mistress. So there was a great confusion of 
mourning in the house. And while this was going on (all around ter) Thee la 
did not turn away, but gave her whole attention to Paul’s word. 

11. But Thamyris sprang up and went out into the street, and closely 
watched all who went in to Paul and came out. And he saw two men quarrelling 
bitterly with one another, and said to them: ‘You men, who are you, tell me, 
and who is he that is inside with you, [the false teacher] who deceives the souls 
of young men and maidens, that they should not marry but remain as they are? 
I promise now to give you much money if you will tell me about him; for I am 
the first man of this city. ’ 12. (p. 244) And Demas and Hermogenes said to him: 
‘Who this man is, we do not know. But he deprives young men of wives and 
maidens of husbands, saying: “Otherwise there is no resurrection for you, 
except ye remain chaste and do not defile the flesh, 23 but keep it pure.’” 13. And 
Thamyris said to them: 'Come into my house, you men, and rest with me. ’ And 
they went off to a sumptuous banquet, with much wine, great wealth and a 
splendid table. And Thamyris gave them to drink, for he loved Thee la and 
wished to have her for his wife. And during the dinner Thamyris said: ‘Tell me, 
you men, what is his teaching, that I also may know it; for I am greatly 
distressed about Thee la because she so loves the stranger, and I am deprived 
of my marriage.’ (p. 245) 14. But Demas and Hermogenes said: ‘Bring him 
before the governor Castellius, on the ground that he is seducing the crowds 
to the new doctrine of the Christians, and so he will have him executed and thou 
shall have thy wife Thee la. And we shall teach thee concerning the resurrection 
which he says is to come, that it has already taken place in the children whom we 
have, 24 and that we are risen again in that we have come to know the true God.’ 25 

15. When Thamyris had heard this from them, he rose up early in the 
morning full of jealousy and wrath and went to the house of Onesiphorus with 
the rulers and officers and a great crowd with cudgels, and said to Paul: ‘Thou 
hast destroyed the city of the Iconians, and my betrothed, so that she will not 
have me. Let us go to the governor Castellius! ’ And the whole crowd shouted: 
‘A way with the sorcerer! For he has corrupted all our wives. ’ And the multitude 
let themselves be persuaded, (p. 246) 16. And Thamyris stood before the 
judgment-seat and cried aloud: ‘ Proconsul, this man - we know not whence he 
is - who does not allow maidens to marry, let him declare before thee for what 
cause he teaches these things. ’ And Demas and Hermogenes said to Thamyris: 
‘Say that he is a Christian, and so thou wilt destroy him.’ But the governor was 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

not easily to be swayed, and he called Paul, saying to him: ‘Who art thou, and 
what dost thou teach? For it is no light accusation that they bring against thee. 
17. And Paul lifted up his voice and said: * If I today am examined as to what 
I teach, then listen. Proconsul. The living God, 27 the God of vengeance, 21 the 
jealous God, 29 the God who has need of nothing, has sent me since he desires 
the salvation of men, that I may draw them away from corruption and impurity, 
all pleasure and death, that they may sin no more. For this cause God sent His 
own Son, whom I preach and teach that in him men (p. 247) have hope, who 
alone had compassion upon a world in error, that men may no longer be under 
judgment but have faith, and fear of God, and knowledge of propriety, and love 
of truth. If then I teach the things revealed to me by God, what wrong do I do. 
Proconsul?’ When the governor heard this, he commanded Paul to be bound 
and led off to prison until he should find leisure to give him a more attentive 
hearing. 30 18.But Theda in the night took off her bracelets and gave them to 
the door-keeper, and when the door was opened for her she went off to the 
prison. To the gaoler she gave a silver mirror, and so went in to Paul and sat 
at his feet and heard (him proclaim) the mighty acts of God. 31 And Paul feared 
nothing, but comported himself with full confidence in God; and her faith also 
was increased, as she kissed his fetters, (p. 248) 19. But when Thecla was 
sought for by her own people and by Thamyris, they hunted her through the 
streets as one lost; and one of the door-keeper's fellow slaves betrayed that she 
had gone out by night. And they questioned the door-keeper, and he told them: 
‘She has gone to the stranger in the prison.' And they went as he had told them 
and found her, so to speak, bound with him in affection. And they went thence, 
rallied the crowd about them, and disclosed to the governor what had happened. 32 

20. He commanded Paul to be brought to the judgment-seat; but Thecla 
rolled herself upon the place where Paul taught as he sat in the prison. The 
governor commanded her also to be brought to the judgment seat, and she went 
off with joy exulting, (p. 249) But when Paul was brought forward again, the 
crowd shouted out even louder: ‘He is a sorcerer! Away with him!’ 33 But the 
governor heard Paul gladly concerning the holy works of Christ; and when he 
had taken counsel he called Thecla and said: ‘Why dost thou not marry 
Thamyris according to the law of the Iconians?’ But she stood there looking 
steadily at Paul. And when she did not answer, Theocleia her mother cried out, 
saying: ‘Bum the lawless one! Bum her that is no bride in the midst of the 
theatre, that all the women who have been taught by this man may be afraid! ’ 
21. And the governor was greatly affected. He had Paul scourged and drove 
him out of the city, 34 but Thecla he condemned to be burned. And forthwith the 
governor arose and went off to the theatre, and all the crowd went out to the 
unavoidable spectacle. But Thecla sought for Paul, as a lamb in the wilderness 
looks about for the shepherd, (p. 250) Aral when she looked upon the crowd, 
she saw the Lord sitting in the form of Paul and said: ‘As if I were not able to 


The Acts of Paul 

endure, Paul has come to look after me.’ And she looked steadily at him; but 
he departed into the heavens. 22. Now the young men and maidens brought 
wood and straw that Theda might be burned. And as she was brought in naked, 
the governor wept and marvelled at the power that was in her. The executioners 
laid out the wood and back her mount the pyre; and making the sign of the 
Cross” she climbed up on the wood. They kindled it, and although a great fire 
blazed up 3 * the fire did not touch her. For God in compassion caused a noise 
beneath the earth and a cloud above, full of rain and hail, overshadowed (the 
theatre) and its whole content (p. 251) poured out, so that many were in danger 
and died, and the fire was quenched and Thecla saved. 23. But Paul was fasting 
with Onesiphorus and his wife and the children in an open tomb on the way 
by which they go from Iconium to Daphne. And when many days were past, 
as they were fasting the boys said to Paul: ‘We are hungry.’ And they had 
nothing with which to buy bread, for Onesiphorus had left the things of the 
world and followed Paul with all his house. But Paul took ofThis outer garment 
and said: ‘Go, my child, <sell this and> 37 buy several loaves and bring them 
here.’ But while the boy was buying he saw his neighbour Thecla, and was 
astonished and said: ‘Thecla, where art thou going?’ And she said: ‘I am 
seeking after Paul, for I was saved from the fire.’ And (p. 252) the boy said: 
‘Come, I will take thee to him, for he has been mourning for thee and praying 
and fasting six days already. ’ 24. But when she came to the tomb Paul had bent 
his knees and was praying and saying: ‘Father of Christ, let not the fire touch 
Thecla, but be merciful to her. for she is thine! ’ But she standing behind him 
cried out: ‘ Father, who didst make heaven and earth, M the Father of thy beloved 
Son <Jesus Chriso, 39 1 praise thee that thou didst save me from the fire, that 
I might see Paul!’ And as Paul arose he saw her and said: ‘O God the knower 
of hearts, 40 Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I praise thee that thou hast so 
speedily <accomplished> what I asked, and hast hearkened unto me. ’ 25. And 
within the tomb there was much love, Paul (p.253) rejoicing, and Onesiphorus 
and all of them. But they had five loaves, and vegetables, and water, and they 
were joyful over the holy works of Christ. And Thecla said to Paul: ‘I will cut 
my hair short and follow thee wherever thou goest. ’ 4I But he said: ‘The season 
is unfavourable, and thou art comely. May no other temptation come upon 
thee, worse than the first, and thou endure not and play the coward!’ And 
Thecla said: ‘Only give me the seal in Christ, and temptation shall not touch 
me.’ And Paul said: ‘Have patience, Thecla, and thou shah receive the water.’ 

26. And Paul sent away Onesiphorus with all his family to Iconium, and 
so taking Thecla came into Antioch. But immediately as they entered a Syrian 42 
by the name of Alexander, one of the fust of the Antiochenes, seeing Thecla 
fell in love with her, and sought to win over Paul with money and gifts. But 
Paul said: ‘I do not know the woman (p. 254) of whom thou dost speak, nor 
is she mine.’ But he, being a powerful man, embraced her on the open street; 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

she however would not endure it, but looked about for Paul and cried out 
bitterly, saying: ‘Force not the stranger, force not the handmaid of God! 
Among the Iconians I am one of the first, and because I did not wish to marry 
Thamyris I have been cast out of the city. ’ And taking hold of Alexander she 
ripped his cloak, took off the crown from his head, and made him a laughing¬ 
stock. 27. But he, partly out of love for her and partly in shame at what had 
befallen him, brought her before the governor, and when she confessed that she 
had done these things, he condemned her to the beasts, <since Alexander was 
arranging gamesx 43 But the women were panic-stricken, and cried out before 
the judgment-seat: ‘An evil (p. 255) judgment! A godless judgment!’ But 
Theda asked of the governor that she might remain pure until she was to fight 
with the beasts. And a rich woman named Tryphaena, whose daughter had 
died, took her under her protection and found comfort in her. 28. When the 
beasts were led in procession, they bound her to a fierce lioness, and the queen 
Tryphaena followed her. And as Thee la sat upon her back, the lioness licked 
her feet, and all the crowd was amazed. Now the charge upon her superscrip¬ 
tion 44 was: Guilty of Sacrilege. But the women with their children cried out 
from above, saying: ‘O God, an impious judgment 43 is come to pass in this 
city!’ And after the procession Tryphaena took her again; for (p. 256) her 
daughter 46 who was dead had spoken to her in a dream: ‘Mother, thou shalt 
have in my place the stranger, the desolate Thee La, that she may pray for me 
and I be translated to the place of the just.’ 47 29. So when Tryphaena received 
her back from the procession she was at once sorrowful, because she was to 
fight with the beasts on the following day, but at the same time loved her dearly 
like her own daughter Falconilla; and she said: ‘Thecla, my second child, come 
and pray for my child, that she may live; for this I saw in my dream.’ And she 
without delay lifted up her voice and said: ‘Thou God of heaven. Son of the 
Most High. 4 * grant to her according to her wish, that her daughter Falconilla 
may live forever! ’ (p. 257) And when Thecla said this, Tryphaena mourned, 49 
considering that such beauty was to be thrown to the beasts. 30. And when it 
was dawn, Alexander came to take ho- away - for he himself was arranging the 
games - and he said: ‘The governor has taken his place, and the crowd is 
clamouring for us. Give me her that is to fight the beasts, that I may take her 
away.’ But Tryphaena cried out so that he fled, saying: ‘A second mourning 
for my Falconilla is come upon my house, and there is none to help; neither 
child, for she is dead, nor kinsman, for I am a widow. O God ofThecla my child, 
help thou Thecla.' 31. Aral the governor sent soldiers to fetch Thecla. 
Tryphaena however did not stand aloof, but taking ter hand herself led her up, 
saying: ‘My daughter Falconilla I (p. 258) brought to the tomb; but thee, 
Thecla, I bring to fight the beasts. ’ Aral Thecla wept bitterly and sighed to the 
Lord, saying: ‘Lord God, in whom I trust, with whom I have taken refuge, who 
didst deliver me from the fire, reward thou Tryphaena, who had compassion 


The Acts of Paul 

upon thy handmaid, and because she preserved me pure’. 32. Then there was 
a tumult, 50 and roaring of the beasts, and a shouting of the people and of the 
women who sat together, some saying: ‘Bring in the sacrilegious one!’ but 
others: ‘ May the city perish for this lawlessness! Slay us all. Proconsul! A bitter 
sight, an evil judgment!’ 33. But Thee la was taken out of Tryphaena’s hands 
and stripped, and (p. 259) was given a girdle and flung into the stadium. And 
lions and bears were set upon her, and a fierce lioness ran to her and lay down 
at her feet And the crowd of the women raised a great shout. And a bear ran 
upon her, but the lioness ran and met it and tore the bear asunder. Ami again 
a lion trained against men, which belonged to Alexander, ran upon her, and the 
lioness grappled with the lion, and perished with it (p. 260) And the women 
mourned the more, since the lioness which helped her was dead. 34. Then they 
sent in many beasts, while she stood and stretched out her hands and prayed. 
And when she had finished her prayer, she turned and saw a great pit full of 
water, and said: ‘Now is the time for me to wash.’ And she threw herself in, 
saying: ‘ In the name of Jesus Christ I baptize myself on the last day! ’ And when 
they saw it the women and all the people wept, saying: ‘Cast not thyself into 
the water! ’; so that even the governor wept that such beauty should be devoured 
by seals. So, then, she threw herself (p. 261) into the water in the name of Jesus 
Christ; but the seals, seeing the light of a lightning-flash, floated dead on the 
surface. And there was about her a cloud of fire, so that neither could the beasts 
touch her nor could she be seen naked. 35. But as other more terrible beasts 
were let loose, the women cried aloud, and some threw petals, others nard, 
others cassia, others amomum, so that there was an abundance of perfumes. 
And all the beasts let loose were overpowered as if by sleep, and did not touch 
her. So Alexander said to the governor. ‘I have some very fearsome bulls - let 
us tie her to them.’ The governor frowning (p. 262) gave his consent, saying: 
‘Do what thou wilt’ And they bound her by the feet between the bulls, and set 
red-hot irons beneath their bellies that being the more enraged they might kill 
her. The bulls indeed leaped forward, but the flame that blazed around her 
burned through the ropes, and she was as if she were not bound. 36. But 
Tryphaena fainted as she stood beside the arena, so that her handmaids said: 
‘The queen Tryphaena is dead!’And the governor took note of it, and the whole 
city was alarmed. And Alexander fell down at the governor’s feet and said: (p. 263) 
‘Have mercy upon me, and on the city, and set the prisoner free, lest the city also 
perish with her. For if Caesar should hear this he will probably destroy both us and 
the city as well, because his kinswoman Tryphaena 51 has died at the circus gates.’ 

37. And the governor summoned Thee la from among the beasts, and said 
to hen ‘Who art thou? And what hast thou about thee,” that not one of the 
beasts touched thee?’ She answered: ‘I am a handmaid of the living God. As 
to what I have about me, I have believed in him in whom God is well pleased. 
His Son.” For his sake not one of the beasts touched me. For he (p. 264) alone 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

is the goal 54 of salvation and the foundation of immortal life. To the storm- 
tossed he is a refuge, to the oppressed relief, 55 to the despairing shelter, in a 
word, whoever does not believe in him shall not live, but die for ever.’ 38. 
When the governor heard this, he commanded garments to be brought, and 
said: ‘Put on these garments.’ But she said: 'He who clothed me when 1 was 
naked among the beasts shall clothe me with salvation in the day of judgment ’ 
And taking the garments she put them on. 

And straightway the governor issued a decree, saying: ‘I release to you 
Thecla, the pious handmaid of God. ’ But all the women cried out with a loud 
voice, and as with one mouth gave praise to God, saying: ‘One is God, who 
has delivered Thecla! ’, so that all the city was shaken by the sound, (p. 263) 
39. And Tryphaena when she was told the good news came to meet her with 
a crowd, and embraced Thecla and said: ‘ Now I believe that the dead are raised 
up! Now I believe that my child lives! Come inside, and I will assign to thee 
all that is mine.’ So Thecla went in with her and rested in her house for eight 
days, instructing her in the word of God, so that the majority of the 
maidservants also believed; and there was great joy in the house. 

(p. 266) 40. But Thecla yearned for Paul and sought after him, sending in 
every direction. And it was reported to her that he was in Myra. So she took 
young men and maidservants ami girded herself, and sewed her mantle into a 
cloak after the fashion of men, and went off to Myra, and found Paul speaking 
the word of God and went to him. But he was astonished when he saw her and 
the crowd that was with her, pondering whether another temptation was not 
upon her. But observing this she said to him: ‘I have taken the bath, Paul; for 
he who worked with thee for the Gospel has also worked with me for my 
baptism. ’ (p. 267) 41. And taking her by the hand Paul led her into the house 
of Hermias, and heard from her everything (that had happened), so that Paul 
marvelled greatly and the hearers were confirmed and prayed for Tryphaena. 
And Thecla arose and said to Paul: ‘ I am going to Iconium. * But Paul said: ‘Go 
and teach the word of God! ’ Now Tryphaena sent her much clothing and gold, 
so that she could leave (some of it) for the service of the poor. (p. 268) 42. But 
she herself went away to Iconium and went into the house of Onesiphorus, and 
threw herself down on the floor where Paul had sat and taught the oracles of 
God, and wept, saying: ‘ My God, and God of this house where the light shone upon 
me, Christ Jesus the Son of God, my helper in prison, my helper before governors, 
my helper in the fire, my helper among the beasts, thou art God, and to thee be the 
glory for ever. Amen’ (p. 269) 43. And she found Thamyris dead, but her mother 
still alive; and calling her mother to her she said to her ‘Theocleia my mother, canst 
thou believe that the Lord lives m heaven? For whether thou dost desire money, the 
Lord will give it thee through me; or thy child, see, I stand beside thee.’ 

And when she had borne this witness she went away to Seleucia; and after 
enlightening many with the word of God she slept with a noble sleep. 


The Acts of Paul 


(Paul in Myra) 

(PHeid pp. 28-35) 

<When he was departed from> Antioch 
<and taught in> Myra 

(p. 28) When Paul was <teachmg> the word of God in Myra, there <was> 
a man there named Hermocrates, who had the dropsy. He took his stand before 
the eyes of all, and said to Paul: ‘Nothing is impossible with God, 1 but 
especially with him whom thou dost preach; for when he came he healed 
many, 2 he whose servant thou art. Lo, I and my wife <and> my children, (p. 

29) we cast ourselves at <thy> feet, <.> that I also may believe <as> thou 

hast believed in the living God.’ 3 <Paul> said to him: ‘I will give thee <... 
.. > without reward, but cthrough the> name of Jesus Christ shalt thou become 
<whole in the prcsence> of all these.’ 4 

The following sentences are badly preserved, but probably the healing is 
described. The man loses a great deal of water, and falls as one dead. 

... so that some said: ‘<It is> better for him to die, that he may <not> be 
in pain.’ But when Paul had quietened the crowd he <took> his hand, raised 

him up and asked him, saying: ’Hermocrates, <.> what thou wilt’ But 

he said: *1 wish to eat.’ 5 (And) he took a loaf and gave him to eat. He became 
whole in that hour, and received the grace of the seal in the Lord, he and his 

But Hermippus his son was angry <with> Paul, and sought for an appointed 
time (a good opportunity?) that he might rise up with those of his own age and 
destroy him. For he wished that his father should not be healed, but (p. 30) die, 
that he might quickly be master of his property. But Dion, his younger son, 
heard Paul gladly. 

What follows is badly preserved- The content is probably: the friends of 
Hermippus take counsel as to how to put an end to Paul. Dion has a fall, and dies. 
Hermocrates mourns deeply but, listening to Paul' s sermon, forgets that Dion is dead. 

But when Dion was dead, his mother Nympha rent <her> clothing (and) 
went to Paul, and set herself before her husband Hermocrates and Paul. But 
when Paul saw her, he was startled and said: ‘Why (ait thou doing) this, 
Nympha?’ But she said to him: ‘Dion is dead.’ And the whole crowd wept as 
they looked upon her. And Paul looked upon the mourning crowd; he sent 
young men and said to them: ‘Go and bring him here to me. ’ So they went, but 
Hermippus <caught hold of> the body in the street ami cried out... 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

(A leaf missing) 

(p. 31)... But an angel <of the> Lord had said to him in the night: 6 ‘Paul, 
<there is before thee> today a great conflict <against> thy body (?), but God, 

<the Father> of his Son Jesus Christ, will <.> thee.’ When <Paul> had 

arisen, <he> went to his brethren and remained <.>, saying: ‘What means 

this vision?’ But while Paul thought on this, he saw Hermippus coming with 
a drawn sword in his hand, and with him many other young men with their 
cudgels. Paul <said to them>: * I am <not> a robber, nor am I <a> murderer. 7 
The God of all things, <the Father> of Christ, will turn <... > backwards, and 
your <sword> into its sheath, and <will transform:? your strength into 
weakness. For I am a servant of God, and I am alone, a stranger, small and of 
no significance among the heathen. But thou, O God, look down upon <their> 
plotting (?) and let me not be brought to nought by them. ’ (p. 32) As Hermippus 

<.> his sword <. ... > against Paul, <.> he ceased to see, so that 

<he> cried aloud, saying: '< ... > comrades, forget not < ... > Hermippus. 
For I have <...>, Paul, I have pursued after <. . > blood. <Leam>, ye foolish 
and ye of understanding, <this> world is nothing, gold is <nothing>, all 
possessions are nothing. I who glutted myself with all that is good am <now> 
a beggar, <and> entreat you all: Hearken, all ye my companions, and every one 
who dwells in Myra. <1 have> mocked a man <who saved> my father, I have 
emocked . . . > raised up my brother < . . . > 

Lines badly preserved, which are restored by Schmidt: <1 have mocked> a man 
who <has ... without? doing me any <evil> (?). 

But entreat ye him; for look; <since?> he saved my father and raised up my 
brother, it is possible for him also to deliver me. But Paul stood there weeping, 
on the one hand before God (with God in mind), because he had heard him (so) 
quickly, but on the other also before men (with men in mind), because the 
proud was brought low. He turned and went up ... 

Probably a leaf is missing. 

The upper part of p. 33 is preserved so fragmentarily that while we can indeed 
reproduce its contents with the help of Schmidt’s restorations, a translation is not 
possible. On the contents cf. above, pp. 222f. 

And they saw Hermippus <their> son in the form of <.>, and how 

he touched the feet of each one, and also the feet of his parents, praying them 
like one of the strangers that he might be healed. And his parents were troubled 
and lamented to every one who went in, so that <some> said: ‘Why do they 
weep? For <Dion is> risen. ’ But Hermocrates <sold.> and brought the 


The Acts of Paul 

price to the <widows>, and took it and divided it. 

The following lines are again badly damaged. 

But they and Paul <prayed> to God. And when Hermippus recoverd his 
sight, he turned to his mother Nympha, saying to her. ‘Paul came and laid his 
hand upon me while I wept. And in that hour I saw all things clearly. ’ And she 
took his hand and brought <him> in to the widows and Paul. 

The last lines of p. 34 are badly damaged. Between pages 34 and 35 a leaf is 
possibly missing. The end of a speech by Paul appears to have stood on p. 35. The 
last sentence before the lemma is restored by Schmidt: 

<And when> Paul -chad confirmed> the brethren who <were in> Myra, he 
departed for <Sidon>. 


(Paul in Sidon) 

(PHeid pp. 35-39) 

When he was departed from Myra 
and <would go to Sidon>. 

(p. 35) But <when Paul was departed from Myra and wished to go> up to 
Si<don>, there was great sorrow among the brethren who were in <Pisidia> 
and Pamphylia, since they yearned <after> his word and his holy presence; so 
that some from Perga 1 followed Paul, namely Thrasymachus and Cleon with 
their wives Aline (?) and Chrysa, the wife of Cleon. 

The following section is preserved only fragmentarily. On its contents cf. above, 
pp. 220f. Then at least two leaves are missing, and possibly more (see above, p. 223). 
Page 37 begins with a speech by Paul in Sidon. 

(p. 37) ‘... <after> the manner of strange men. Why do you presume to 
do things that are not seemly? Have you not heard of that which happened, 
which God brought upon Sodom and Gomorrah, 2 because they robbed 

The remainder of the speech is severely damaged. 

<But they> did not listen to him, but <laid hold of> them and flung them 
into <the temple of Apol>lo to keep them secure until <the moming>, in order 
that they might assemble the city <... > Abundant and costly was the food 
they gave them, but Paul, who was fasting for the third day, testified all night 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

long, sadat heart and smiting his brow and saying: ‘O God, look down upon 
their threats 3 and suffer us not to fall, and let not our adversary strike us 
down (?), (p. 38) but <deli ver> us by speedily bringing down thy righteous¬ 
ness upon us.’ 

The following lines are badly damaged. Probably at Paul’s prayer a part of the 
temple collapses, which creates a considerable stir. 

They (i.e. those who had seen the fallen temple) went away (and) 
proclaimed in the city: ‘Apollo the god of the Sidonians is fallen, with the half 
of his temple.' And all the inhabitants of the city ran to the temple (and) saw 
Paul and those that were with him weeping at this tribulation, that they were 
to become a spectacle for everyone. But the crowd cried out: ‘Bring them 
to the theatre!’ The magistrates came to fetch them; and they groaned 
bitterly in their soul... 

Here at least two leaves are missing. On p. 39, which presents the end of the Sidon 
episode, only a little can be read. Apparently Paul makes a speech, which brings the 
crowd round. Schmidt restores the conclusion thus: 

<But he> commanded <them> to go to Tyre ... <in> safety (?), and they 
put Paul <aboard a ship?> and went with him. 


(Paul in Tyre) 

(PHeid p. 40) 

When he was departed from Sidon 
and would go to Tyre. 

(p. 40) But when <Paul> had entered cinto Tyro there <came a> crowd 
of Jews ... in to him. 

The following lines are damaged. Paul probably preaches and also drives out 
demons. The names Amphion and Chrysippus can be recognised. 

But immediately the demons <fled>. But when the crowd saw cthese 

things in the power> of God, they praised him who <.> to Paul. Now 

there was one named < ... >rimos, who had a <son> who had been bom 

Here the episode at Tyre breaks off; cf. above, pp. 224f. 


The Acts of Paul 


(Paul in Ephesus) 
(PH pp. 1-5) 

This was preceded by a stay in Smyrna and the arrival in Ephesus, where Paul 
preaches in the house of Aquila and Priscilla (cf. PG, below, p. 263). PH begins with 
the scene before the governor. 

(p. 1) But Paul said to him: ‘<. ..> For thou hast no power cover me except 
over> my body; but my soul thou <canst> not <slay>.‘ But <heai> in what 
manner thou must be saved. And taking all <my words> to heart <... > and 
the earth and stars and dominions and <... > and all the good things in the world 
for the sake of <.. .> moulded <... >ofmcn<.. .> led astray and enslaved 
< ... > by gold < ... > silver and precious stones < ... > and adultery and 
drunkenness. <...>, which lead to deception through the afore-mentioned < 
... > went and were slain. 2 Now then, since the Lord wishes us to live in God 
because of the error in the world, <and not> die in sins, he saves through the 
<... > who preach, that ye may repent and believe <... > 3 and one Christ Jesus 
and no other exists. For your gods are of <... > and stone and wood, and can 
neither take food nor see nor hear, nor even stand. Form a good resolve, and 
be ye saved, lest God be wroth and bum you with unquenchable fire, 4 and the 
memory of you perish.’* And when the governor heard this <... > in the theatre 
with the people, he said: ‘Ye men of Ephesus, that this man has spoken well 
I know, but also that < ... > is no time for you to leam these things. Decide 

now what you wish!’ Some said he should be burned <.>, but the 

goldsmiths 6 said: To the beasts with the man!’ And since a great <tumult> 
broke out Hieronymus condemned him to the beasts, after having him 
scourged. Now the brethren, since it was Pentecost, did not mourn or bow their 
knees, but rejoiced and prayed <standing>. But after six days Hieronymus 
made < ... > 7 all who saw it were astonished at the size <...>* 

(p. 2) The first lines are imperfect. Paul sits a prisoner, and hears the preparations 
for the fight with the beasts. 

And <when the lion> came to the side door of the stadium, <where Paul> 
was imprisoned, it roared loudly, so that all <... > cried out: ‘The lion! ’ For 
it roared fiercely and angrily, <so that even Paul> broke off his prayer in terror. 
There was <... > Diophantes, a ffeedman of Hieronymus, whose wife was a 
disciple of Paul and sat beside him night and day, <so that> Diophantes became 
jealous and hastened on the conflict. <And> Artemilla, the wife of Hieronymus, 
wished to hear Paul <praying>, and said to Eubula, the wife of Diophantes: ‘< 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

... > to hear the beast-fighter’s prayer. ’ And she went and told Paul, and Paul 
full of joy said: ‘Bring her.’ She put on darker clothes, and came to him with 
Eubula. But when Paul saw her, he groaned and said: ‘Woman, ruler of this 
world, mistress of much gold, citizen of great luxury, splendid in thy raiment, 
sit down on the floor and forget thy riches and thy beauty and thy finery. For 
these will profit thee nothing if thou pray not to God who regards as dross all 
that here is imposing, but graciously bestows what there is wonderful. Gold 
perishes, riches are consumed, clothes become worn out. Beauty grows old, 
and great cities are changed, and the world will be destroyed in fire’ because 
of the lawlessness of men. God alone abides, and the sonship 10 that is given 
through him in whom men must be saved. 11 And now, Artemi 11a, hope in God 
and he will deliver thee, hope in Christ and he will give thee forgiveness of sins 
and will bestow upon thee a crown of freedom, that thou mayest no longer serve 
idols and the steam of sacrifice but the living God 12 and Father of Christ, whose 
is the glory for ever and ever. Amen. ’ And when Arte mil la heard this she with 
Eubula besought Paul that he would <forthwith?> baptize her in God. And the 
fight with the beasts was (arranged) for the next day. 

(p. 3) And Hieronymus heard from Diophantes that the women sat night 
and day with Paul, and he was not a little wroth with Artemilla and the 
freedwoman Eubula. And when he had dined Hieronymus withdrew early, that 
he might quickly carry through the beast-hunt. But the women said to Paul: 
‘Dost thou wish us to bring a smith, that thou mayest baptize us in the sea as 
a free man?’ And Paul said: 'I do not wish it, for I have faith in God, who 
delivered the whole world from (its) bonds. ’ And Paul cried out to God on the 
Sabbath as the Lord’s day drew near, the day on which Paul was to fight with 
the beasts, and he said: ‘My God, Jesus Christ, who didst redeem me from so 
many evils, 13 grant me that before the eyes of Artemilla and Eubula, who are 
thine, the fetters may be broken from my hands. ’ And as Paul thus testified (or: 
adjured God), 14 there came in a youth very comely in grace and loosed Paul’s 
bonds, the youth smiling as he did so. And straightway he departed. But 
because of the vision which was granted to Paul, and the eminent sign relating 
to his fetters, his grief over the fight with the beasts departed, and rejoicing he 
leaped as if in paradise. And taking Artemilla he went out from the narrow and 
<dark place where the> prisoners were kept. 

In the following there are considerable gaps, which Schmidt has meaningfully 
restored. The subject is Artemilla’s baptism at the sea. As Artemilla swoons at the 
sight of the surging sea, Paul prays: 

‘O thou who dost give light and shine, <help, thao the heathen may <not> 
say (p- 4) that Paul the prisoner fled after killing Artemilla.’ And again the 
youth smiled, and the matron (Artemilla) breathed again, and she went into the 
house as dawn was already breaking. But as 1 m (Paul?) went in, the guards 


The Acts of Paul 

being asleep, he broke bread and brought water, gave her to drink of the word, 
and dismissed her to her husband Hieronymus. But he himself prayed. 

At dawn there was a cry from the citizens: ‘Let us go to the spectacle! Come, 
let us see the man who possesses God fighting with the beasts! ’ Hieronymus 
himself joined them, partly because of his suspicion against his wife, partly 
because he (Paul) had not fled; he commanded Diophantes ami the other slaves 
to bring Paul into the stadium. He (Paul) was dragged in, saying nothing but 
bowed down and groaning because he was led in triumph by the city. And when 
he was brought out he was immediately flung into the stadium, so that all were 
vexed at Paul *s dignity. But since Arte mi 11a and Eubula fell into a sickness and 
were inextreme danger because of Paul’s (impending) destruction, Hieronymus 
was not a little grieved over (his) wife, but also because the rumour was already 
abroad in the city and he did not have his wife with him. So when he had taken 
his place the < ... > ordered a very fierce lion, which had but recently been 
captured, to be set loose against him. 

The following text is very imperfect. It deals with the lion’s prayer and its 
conversation with Paul. The people thereupon cry out: 

‘Away with the sorcerer! 13 Away with the < poisoner!' But the lion> looked 
at Paul and Paul <at the lion. Then> Paul recognised that this <was the> lion 
(p. 5) which had come <and> been baptized. <And> borne along by faith I6 Paul 
said: ‘Lion, was it thou whom I baptized?’ And the lion in answer said to Paul: 
‘Yes,’ Paul spoke to it again and said: ‘And how wast thou captured?’ The 
lion said with one (?) voice: 17 Even as thou, Paul.’ As Hieronymus sent 
many beasts, that Paul might be slain, and against the lion archers, that it 
too might be killed, a violent and exceedingly heavy hail-storm fell from 
heaven, although the sky was clear, so that many died and all the rest took 
to flight. But it did not touch Paul or the lion, although the other beasts 
perished under the weight of the hail, (which was so severe) that Hieronymus’ 
ear was smitten and tom off, and the people cried out as they fled: ‘Save us, 
O God, save us, O God of the man who fought with the beasts!* And Paul 
took leave of the lion, without his (i.e. the lion?) saying anything more, and 
went out of the stadium and down to the harbour and embarked on the ship 
which was sailing for Macedonia; for there were many who were sailing, 
as if the city were about to perish. So he embarked too like one of the fugitives, 
but the lion went away into the mountains as was customary for it. 

Now Artemilla and Eubula mourned not a little, fasting and in < .. >" 
as to what had befallen Paul. But when it was night there came <... > 19 visibly 
into the bedroom, where < ... > Hieronymus was discharging at the ear. 

The following lacunae have been so restored by Schmidt that their content 
becomes clear, the women are comforted as to Paul’s fate. Hieronymus prays to 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Paul’s God for help for his ear. 

Through the will of Christ Jesus <heal> the ear! ’ And it became whole, as 
<the youth> had commanded him: Treat <the ear?> with honey.’ 

(Paul in Philippi) 

(PHeid pp. 45-50; 41,42 and 44; for 3 Cor. see above, pp. 217 and 228 1 

The beginning of the Philippi episode is missing. The first lines of PHeid p. 45 are 
so fragmentary that no conclusions can be drawn from them. 

<For> the Corinthians were in <great> distress <over> Paul, because he 
was going out of the world before it was time. For men were come to Corinth, 
Simon and Cleobius, who said that there was no resurrection of the flesh but 
(only) of the spirit, and that the body of man is not the creation of God; and of 
the world (they said) that God did not create it, and that God does not know 
the world; and that Jesus Christ was not crucified, but was only a semblance, 
and that he was not bom of Mary, or of the seed of David. 2 In a word, many 
were the things which they <taught?> in Corinth, deceiving <many others .. 
. and> themselves. <Because of this>, when <the Corinthians> heard cthat 
Paul was in Philippi> they sent a cletter to Paul> in Macedonia <by> Threptus 
<and> Eutychus <the deacons>. And the letter was <in this form>. 

(Letter of the Corinthians to Paul) 3 

1.1. Stephanas and the presbyters who are with him, Daphnus, Eubulus, 
Theophilus and Xenon, to Paul <their brother> in the Lord, greeting. 

2 . Two men are come to Corinth, named Simon and Cleobius, who pervert the 
faith of many through pernicious words, 3. which thou shall put to the test 4. For 
never have we heard such words, either horn thee or from other [apostles]; 5. but 
what we have received from thee and from them, that we hold fast. 6. Since now the 
Lord has shown mercy to us, that while thou art still in the flesh we may hear such 
things again from thee, 7 do thou [write to us or] come to us. 8. For we believe, as 
it has been revealed to Theonoe, that the Lord has delivered thee out of the hand of 
the lawless one. 9. What they say and teach is as follows: 10. We must not, they say, 
appeal to the prophets, 11. and that God is not almighty, 12. and that there is no 
resurrection of the flesh, 13. and that the creation of man is not God’s (work), 14. and 
that the Lord is not come in the flesh, nor was he bom of Mary, 15. and that the world 
is not of God, but of the angels. 16. Wherefore, brother, make all speed to come 
hither, that the church of the Corinthians may remain without offence, and the 
foolishness of these men be made manifest Fare thee well in the Lord! 


The Acts of Paul 

2. l. The deacons Threptus and Eutychus brought the letter to Philippi, 2. 
and delivered it to Paul, who was in prison because of Stratonice, the wife of 
Apollophanes; and he began to shed many tears and to mourn, and cried out: 
3. ‘Better were it for me to die and be with the Lord, than to be in the flesh and 
hear such things, so that sorrow after sorrow comes upon me, 4. and suffering 
such things to be bound and (have to see how) the tools (intrigues?) of die evil 
one run their course!’ 3. And so Paul in affliction wrote the (following) letter. 

(Letter of Paul to the Corinthians) 

3. l. Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, to the brethren in Corinth - greeting! 
2. Since I am in many tribulations, I do not wonder that the teachings of the evil 
one arc so quickly gaining ground. 3. For <my> Lord Jesus Christ will quickly 
come, since he is rejected by those who falsify his words. 4. For I delivered to 
you in the beginning what I received from the apostles who were before me, 
who at all times were together with the Lend Jesus Christ, 5. that our Lord Jesus 
Christ was bom of Mary of the seed of David, when the Holy Spirit was sent 
from heaven by the Father into her, 6. that he might come into this world and 
redeem all flesh through his own flesh, and that he might raise up from the dead 
us who are fleshly, even as he has shown himself as our example. 7. And since 
man was moulded by his Father, 8. for this reason was he sought when he was 
lost, that he might be quickened by adoption into sonship. 9. For the almighty 
God, who made heaven and earth, first sent the prophets to the Jews, that they 
might be drawn away from their sins; 10 . for he had determined to save the 
house of Israel, therefore he sent a portion of the Spirit of Christ into the 
prophets, who at many times proclaimed the faultless worship of God. 11. But 
since the prince who was unrighteous wished himself to be God, he laid hands 
upon them and slew them, and so fettered all flesh of men to the passions <to 
his will, and the end of the world drew nigh to judgmenO. 12. But God, the 
almighty, who is righteous and would not repudiate his own creation, 13. sent 
the <Holy> Spirit <through fire> into Mary the Galilean, 14. who believed with 
all her heart, and she received the Holy Spirit in her womb that Jesus might 
enter into the world, 13. in order that the evil one might be conquered through 
the same flesh by which he held sway, and convinced that he was not God. 16. 
For by his own body Jesus Christ saved all flesh <and brought it to eternal life 
through faith>, 17. that he might present a temple of righteousness in his body, 
18. through whom we are redeemed. 19. They are thus not children of 
righteousness but children of wrath, who reject the providence of God, saying 
<far from faith> that heaven and earth and all that in them is are not works of 
the Father. 20. They are themselves therefore children of wrath, for they have 
the accursed faith of the serpent. 21. From them turn ye away, and flee from their 
teaching! <22. For ye are not sons of disobedience but of the Church most 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

clearly beloved. 23. Wherefore the time of the resurrection is proclaimed^ 

24. As for those who tell you that there is no resurrection of the flesh, for 
them there is no resurrection, 25. who do not believe in him who is thus risen. 
26. For indeed, ye men of Corinth, they do not know about the sowing of wheat 
or the other seeds, that they are cast naked into the ground and when they have 
perished below are raised again by the will of God in a body and clothed. 27. 
And not only is the body which was cast (into the earth) raised up, but also 
abundantly blessed. 28. And if we must not derive the similitude from the seeds 
alone, <but from nobler bodies>, 29. you know that Jonah the son of Amathios, 
when he would not preach in Nineveh <but fled>, was swallowed by a whale, 
30. and after three days and three nights God heard Jonah ’ s prayer out of deepest 
hell, and no part of him was corrupted, not even a hair or an eyelid. 31. How 
much more, O ye of little faith, will Ire raise up you who have believed in Christ 
Jesus, as he himself rose up? 32. And if, when a corpse was thrown by the 
children of Israel upon the bones of the prophet Elisha, the man’s body rose 
up, so you also who have been cast upon the body and bones and Spirit of the 
Lord shall rise up on that day with your flesh whole. 

34. But if you receive anything else, do not cause me trouble; 33. for I have 
these fetters on my hands that I may gain Christ, and his marks in my body that 
1 may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 36. And whoever abides by the 
rule which he received through the blessed prophets and the holy Gospel, he 
shall receive a reward <and when he is risen from the dead shall obtain eternal 
lifo. 37. But he who turns aside therefrom - there is fire with him and with those 
who go before him in the way, 38. since they are men without God, a generation 
of vipers; 39. from these turn ye away in the power of the Lord, 40. and peace, 
<grace and lovo be with you. Amen. 

Between 3 Cor. and the conclusion of the Philippi episode there is a lacuna, the length 
of which cannot be determined. Of the first lines on page 41 of PHeid only die names 
Longinus and Paul can be read. Evidently Longinus, the fattier of Frontma, is speaking. 

(p. 41)... nothing good has <befallen> my house. ’ <And> he advised that 

< ... > who <were to throw> down Frontma <his> daughter should <also> 
throw down Paul alive <with> her. Now Paul knew of the <mattei>, but he 
laboured and fasted in great cheerfulness for two <days> with the prisoners. 
They <commanded thao on the third day <... > bring out Frontina. But the 

< . . > followed her. And Firmilla and Longinus and the soldiers 

<lamented>. But the prisoners carried the bier. And when Paul saw a great 
mourning. .. 

Lacuna of about 8 lines 


The Acts of Paul 

(p. 42)... Paul alive <with the> daughter. But when Paul <had taken> the 
daughter in <his> arms, he groaned to the Lord Jesus Christ because of 
Fumilla’s sorrow; he threw himself on his knees in the mire <...> and prayed 
for Frontina and <her> in one prayer. In <that> hour Frontina <rose up>. And 
all the <crowd> was afraid and fled. Paul <toolo the daughter’s hand and < 
... > through the city to the house <of> Longinus. But the whole <crowd> cried 
with one voice: ‘One is God, who has matte heaven and earth, who has given 
life to the daughter <.> of Paul.’ 

A few more lines follow on pages 42 and 44, but of these only a few letters or 
words can be recognised On the content cf. above, pp. 227f. A new section begins 
in the middle of page 44 of PH eid Of the lemma not much is preserved. In accordance 
with PH it may be restored: 

<When he was departed from Philippi> 
and would go <to Corinthx 


(Paul in Corinth) 

(PH pp. 6-7; PHeid pp. 44/43; 51/52) 

From Philippi to Corinth 

(p. 6) When Paul came from Philippi to Corinth, to the house of Epiphanius, 
there was joy,' so that all our people rejoiced but at the same time wept as Paul 
related what he had suffered in Philippi in the workhouse 2 and everywhere, 
what had befallen him, so that further his tears became <... > 3 and continuous 
prayer was offered by all for Paul, and he counted himself blessed that so 
single-heartedly every day they guided his affairs in prayer to the Lord. 
Unrivalled therefore was the greatness of the joy, and Paul *s soul was uplifted 
because of the goodwill of the brethren, so that for forty days he preached the 
word of perseverance, 4 (relating) in what place anything had befallen him and 
what great deeds had been granted to him. So in every account he praised 
almighty God and Christ Jesus who in every place had been well pleased with 
Paul. <But when> the days were ended (and the time drew near) for Paul to 
depart for Rome, grief came upon the brethren as to when they should see him 
again. And Paul, full of the Holy Spirit, said: ‘Brethren, he zealous about 
<fasting?> 5 and love. For behold, I go away to a furnace of fire <...>* and 
I am not strong except the Lord <grant> me power. For indeed David 
accompanied Saul 7 <...>,* for Christ Jesus was with him <...>. <The grace 
of> the Lord will go with me, that I may <fulfil> the <... > dispensation with 
steadfastness.’ But they were distressed and fasted. Then Cleobius was filled 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

with the Spirit and said: ‘Brethren, now must Paul fulfil all his assignment, and 
go up to the < ... > 9 of death < ... > in great instruction and knowledge and 
sowing of the word, and (must) suffer envy 10 and depart out of this world.’ But 
when the brethren and Paul heard ,this>, they lifted up their voice and said: ‘O 
God, <... > Father of Christ, help thou Paul thy servant, that he may yet abide 
with us because ofour weakness.'But since Paul was cut (to the heart) and no longer 
fasted with them, when an offering (i.e. Eucharist) was celebrated by Paul... 

(PH p. 7) The beginning of the page is very imperfect, nor does it admit of any 
meaningful restoration from PHeid p. 52. 

But the Spirit came upon Myrta, so that she said: ‘Brethren, why <are you 
alarmed at the sight of this sign?>' 1 Paul the servant of the Lord will save many 
in Rome, and will nourish many with the word, so that there is no number (to 
count them), and he (?) will become manifest above all the faithful, 12 and 
greatly will the glory < ... come> upon him, so that there will be great grace 
in Rome.’ And immediately, when the Spirit that was in Myrta was at peace, 
each one took of the bread and feasted according to custom <... > n amid the 
singing of psalms of David and of hymns. And Paul too enjoyed himself. On 
the following day, after they had spent the whole night according to the will 
of God, Paul said: ‘Brethren, I shall set out cm the day of preparation and sail 
for Rome, that I may not delay what is ordained and laid upon me, for to this 
I was appointed.’ They were greatly distressed when they heard this, and all 
the brethren contributed according to their ability so that Paul might not be 
troubled, except that he was going away from the brethren. 


(From Corinth to Italy) 

(PH pp. 7-8; PO. PM) 

(p. 7) As he embarked on the ship, while they all prayed, Artemon 1 the 

captain of the ship was there. He had been baptized by Peter, and <.> Paul, 

that so much was entrusted to him <.> 2 the Lord was embarking. But when 

the ship had set sail, Artemon held fellowship with Paul to glorify the Lord 
Jesus Christ in the grace of God, since he had fore-ordained his plan for Paul. 2 
When they were on the open sea ami it was quiet, Paul fell asleep, fatigued by 
the fastings and the night watches with the brethren. And the Lord came to him, 
walking upon the sea, and he nudged Paul ami said: ‘Stand up and see!’ And 
he awakening said: ‘Thou art my Lord Jesus Christ, the king < ... . >, But 
why so gloomy and downcast. Lord? Ami if thou <... . > Lord, for I am not 
a little distressed that thou art so.' <And the> Lord said: ‘Paul, I am about to 
be crucified afresh.' 9 And Paul said: ‘God forbid, Lord, that I should see this! ’ 


The Acts of Paul 

But the Lord said to Paul: ‘Paul, get thee up, go to Rome and admonish the 

brethren, that they abide in the calling to the Father.’ And <.> walking 

on the sea, he went before them <.> showed (the way). But when the 

voyage was ended <. . . > Paul went <.> with great sadness, and <he saw> 

a man standing <on> the harbour, who was waiting for Artemon the captain, 
and seeing him greeted him <... (p. 8). . > and he said to him: ‘Claudius, 
<see here Paul> the beloved of the Lord, who is with me.’ <... > Claudius 
embraced 1 Paul and greeted him. And without delay he with Artemon carried 
the (baggage) from the ship to his house. And he rejoiced greatly and informed 
the brethren about him, so that at once Claudius’ house was filled with joy and 
thanksgiving. For they saw how Paul laid aside his mood of sadness and taught 
the word of truth 6 and said: ‘Brethren and soldiers of Christ, 7 listen! How often 
did God deliver Israel out of the hand of the lawless! And so long as they kept 
the things of God* he did not forsake them. For he saved them out of the hand 
of Pharaoh the lawless, and of Og the still more ungodly king, 9 and of Adar 10 
and the foreign people. And so long as they kept the things of God he gave them 
of the fruit of the loins, 11 after he had promised them the land of the Canaanites, 
and he made the foreign people subject to them. And after all that he provided 
for them in the desert and in the waterless (country), he sent them in addition 
prophets to proclaim our Lord Jesus Christ; 12 and these in succession received 
share and portion of the Spirit of Christ, 13 and having suffered much were slain 
by the people. Having thus forsaken the living God according to their own 
desires, they forfeited the eternal inheritance. And now, brethren, a great 
temptation lies before us. If we endure, we shall have access to the Lord, and 
shall receive as the refuge and shield of his good pleasure 14 Jesus Christ, who 
gave himself for us, if at least ye receive the word so as it is. 15 For in these last 
times God for our sakes has sent down a spirit of power into the flesh, that is, 
into Mary the Galilean, according to the prophetic word; who 16 was conceived 
and borne by her as the fruit of her womb until she was delivered and gave birth 
to <Jesus> the Christ, our King, 17 of Bethlehem in Judaea, brought up in 
Nazareth, who went to Jerusalem and taught all Judaea: “The kingdom of 
heaven is at hand! Forsake the darkness, receive the light, you who live in the 
darkness of death! 11 * A light has arisen for you!” And he did great and wonderful 
works, so that he chose from the tribes twelve men whom he had with him in 
understanding and faith, as he raised the dead, healed diseases, cleansed lepers, 
healed the blind, 19 made cripples whole, raised up paralytics, cleansed those 
possessed by demons ... 

Here the text of PH (p. 8) breaks off. In (the three parts of) PM there follow the 
fragments of further lines, which however scarcely permit of a coherent translation. 
Only this much is clear, that there is reference to miracles of Jesus. Probably we have 
in PHeid p. 79/80the Coptic version of this part of the AP1, of which only these Greek 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

fragments survive. That the Coptic text is not, as Schmidt thought, the remains of an 
apocryphal gospel was already conjectured in NTApo’ (ET 344f.). W. Rondorf (‘Les 
actes de Paul sur papyrus’ (see above, p. 214] has confirmed this conjecture. He has 
further calculated that with the aid of PHeid ami the three fragments of PM the 
lacunae in PH, which begins again on p. 9 with MP c. 3, can largely be filled up. 

(p. 79)... wondered <greatly and deliberated> in their hearts. <He said to 
them>: ‘Why are you amazed <that I raise up> the dead, or that <1 make the 
lame> walk, or that I cleanse <the leperso, or that I raise up the <sick, or that 
I have> healed the paralytic and those possessed by demons, or that I have 
divided a little bread and satisfied many, or that I have walked upon the sea, 
or that I have commanded the winds? 20 If you believe this and <are convinced>, 
then are you great. For truly <1 say> to you: If you say to <this mountains Be 
thou removed and cast cinto the sea>, and are not doubtful <in your heart>, 
it will come to pass for you.’ 21 < ... > when <one of> them was convinced, 
whose name was Simon and who said: ‘Lord, truly great are the works which 
thou dost do. For we have never heard, nor have <we ever> seen (p. 80) <a man 
who> has raised <the dead>, except for <thee.‘ The Lord said to him:> ‘You 

<will pray for the works> which I myself will <do.> But the other works 

<I> will do at once. For these I do <for the sake of?> a temporary deliverance 
in the time during which they are in these places, that they may believe in him 
who sent me.’ Simon said to him: ‘Lord, command me to speak.’ He said to 
him: ‘Speak, Peter!’ For from that day he ccalled? them by name. He said: 

<‘'What then is> the work that is greater than these <.apart from> raising 

of the dead and <the feeding> of such a crowd?’ The Lord said to him: ‘There 
is something that is <greater than this>, and Messed are they who have believed 
with all their heart’ But Philip lifted up his voice in wrath, saying: ‘What manner 
of thing is this that thou wouldst teach us?' But he said to him: ‘Thou ... 

On the lacuna between this speech by Paul and the beginning of the Martyrdom, 
which is probably not very great, cf. above, p. 230. 


Martyrdom of the Holy Apostle Paul 
(Aa 1, pp. 104-117; PH pp. 9-11; PHeid pp. 53-58) 

1. There were awaiting Paul at Rome Luke from Gaul and Titus from 
Dalmatia. 1 When Paul saw them he was glad, so that he hired a bam outside 
Rome, where with the brethren he taught the word of truth. The news was 
spread abroad, and many souls were added to the Lord, 2 so that there was a 
rumour throughout Rome, and a great number of believers came to him from 


The Acts of Paul 

the house of Caesar, 3 and there was great joy. 

But a certain Patroclus, Caesar’s cup-bearer, came late to the bam and, (p. 
106) being unable because of the crowd to go in to Paul, sat at a high window 
and listened to him teaching the word of God. But since the wicked devil was 
envious of the love of the brethren, Patroclus fell from the window and died, 4 
and the news was quickly brought to Nero. But Paul, perceiving it in the spirit, 
said: ‘Brethren, the evil one has gained an opportunity to tempt you. Go out, 
and you will find a youth fallen from a height and already on the point of death. 
Lift him up, and bring him here to me! ’ So they went out and brought him. And 
when the crowd saw (him), they were troubled. Paul said to them: ‘Now, 
brethren, let your faith be manifest Come, all of you, let us mourn to our Lord 
Jesus Christ, that this youth may live and we remain unmolested. ’ But as they 
all lamented the youth drew breath again, and setting him upon a beast they sent 
him back alive with the others who were of Caesar’s house. 2. When Nero 
heard of Patroclus’ death, he was greatly distressed, and when he came out 
from the bath he commanded that another be appointed for the wine. But his 
servants told him the news, saying: ‘Caesar, Patroclus is alive and standing at 
the (p. 108) table.’ And when Caesar heard that Patroclus was alive he was 
afraid, and did not want to go in. But when he had entered he saw Patroclus and, 
beside himself, cried out: ‘Patroclus, art thou alive?’ And he said: ‘I am alive, 
Caesar.’ But he said: ‘Who is he who made thee to live?’ And the youth, borne 
by the conviction of faith, said: ’ Christ Jesus, the king of the ages. ’ 5 But Caesar 
in perplexity said: ‘So he is to be king of the ages, and destroy all the 
kingdoms?’ Patroclus said to him: ‘Yes, all the kingdoms under heaven he 
destroys, and he alone shall be for ever, and there shall be no kingdom which 
shall escape him.’ But he struck him on the face and said: ‘Patroclus, dost thou 
also serve in that king's army?’ And he said: ‘Yes, lord Caesar, for indeed he 
raised me up when I was dead. ’ And Barsabas Justus of the flat feet, and Orion 
the Cappadocian, and Festus the Galatian, Nero’s chief men, (p. 110) said: ‘We 
also are in the army 6 of that king of the ages.’ But he shut them up in prison, 
after torturing dreadfully men whom he greatly loved, and commanded that the 
soldiers of the great king be sought out, and he issued a decree to this effect, that all 
who were found to be Christians and soldiers of Christ 7 should be put to death. 

3. And among the many Paul also was brought bound; to him all his fellow- 
prisoners gave heed, so that Caesar observed that he was the man in command. 
And he said to him:* ‘Man of the great king, but (now) my prisoner, why did 
it seem good to thee to come secretly into the empire of the Romans and enlist 
soldiers from my province?’ But Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit,’ said before 
them all: ‘Caesar, not only from thy province do we enlist soldiers, but from 
the whole world. For this charge has been laid upon us, that no man be excluded 
who wishes to serve my king. If thou also think it good, do him service! for 
neither riches nor the splendour of this present life will save thee, 10 but if thou 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

submit and entreat him, then shalt thou be saved. For in one day he will (p. 112) 
destroy the world with fire.’ 

When Caesar heard this, he commanded all the prisoners to be burned with 
fire, but Paul to be beheaded according to the law of the Romans. But Paul did 
not keep silence concerning the word, but communicated it to the prefect 
Longus and the centurion Cestus. 

In Rome, then, Nero was (raging) at the instigation of the evil one, many 
Christians being put to death without trial, so that the Romans took their stand 
at the palace and cried: * It is enough, Caesar! For these men are ours. Thou dost 
destroy the power of the Romans! ’ Then he made an end (of the persecution), 
whereupon none of the Christians was to be touched until he had himself 
investigated his case. 4. Then Paul was brought before him in accordance with 
the decree, and he adhered to the decision that he should be beheaded. But Paul 
said: 'Caesar, it is not for a short time that I live for my king. And if thou behead 
me, this will I do: I will arise and appear to thee (in proof) that I am not dead, but 
alive to my Lord Christ Jesus, 11 (p. 114) who is coming to judge the world.’ 12 

But Longus and Cestus said to Paul:' Whence have you this king, that you 
believe in him without change of heart, even unto death?’ Paul communicated 
the word to them and said: ‘Ye men who are in this ignorance and error, change 
your mind and be saved from the fire that is coming upon the whole world. For 
we do not march, as you suppose, with a king who comes from earth, 13 but one 
from heaven, the living God, who comes as judge because of the lawless deeds 
that are done in this world. And blessed is that man who shall believe in him, 
and live for ever, 14 when he comes to bum the world till it is pure.’ So they 
besought him and said: ‘We entreat thee, help us and we will let thee go.’ But 
he answered and said: ‘ I am no deserter from Christ, but a lawful soldier of the 
living God. Had I known that I was to die, 1 would have done it, Longus and 
Cestus. But since I live to God and love my self, I go to the Lord that I may come 
(again) with him (p. 115) in the glory of his Father.’ They said to him: ‘How 
then shall we live, when thou art beheaded?’ 5. While they were still saying 
this, Nero sent a certain Parthenius and Pheretas to see if Paul had already been 
beheaded; and they found him still alive. But he called them to him and said: 
‘Believe in the living God, who raises up from the dead both me and all who 
believe in him! ’ But they said: ‘ We are going now to Nero; but when thou dost 
die and rise again, then will we believe in thy God.’ But when Longus and 
Cestus questioned him further about salvation, he said to them: ‘Come quickly 
here to my grave at dawn, and you will find two men praying, Titus and Luke. 
They will give you the seal in the Lord.’ 

Then Paul stood with his face to the east, and lifting up his hands to heaven 
prayed at length; 13 and after communing in prayer in Hebrew with the fathers 
he stretched out his neck without speaking further. But when the executioner 
struck off his head, milk spurted upon the soldier’s clothing. And when they 


The Acts of Paul 

saw it, the soldier and all who stood by were amazed, and glorified God who 
had given Paul (p. 116) such glory. And they went off and reported to Caesar 
what had happened. 

6. When he heard it, he marvelled greatly and was at a loss. Then Paul came 
about the ninth hour, when many philosophers and the centurion were standing 
with Caesar, and he stood before them all and said: 16 Caesar, here I am - Paul, 
God’s soldier. I am not dead, but alive in my God. But for thee, unhappy man, 
there shall be many evils and great punishment, because thou didst unjustly 
shed the blood of the righteous, and that not many days hence!’ 17 And when 
he had said this Paul departed from him. But when Nero heard (it) he was 
greatly troubled, and commanded the prisoners to be set free, including 
Patroclus and Barsabas and his companions. 

7. As Paul directed, Longus and Cestus went at dawn and with fear 
approached Paul’s tomb. But as they drew near they saw two men praying, and 
Paul between them, so that at the sight of this unexpected wonder they were 
astounded, while Titus and Luke were seized with human fear when they saw 
Longus and Cestus coming towards them, and turned to flight, (p. 117) But 
they followed after them, saying: * We are not pursuing you to kill you, as you 
imagine, ye blessed men of God, but for life, that you may give it to us as Paul 
promised us, whom we saw but now standing between you and praying.’ And 
when Titus and Luke heard this from them, with great joy they gave them the 
seal in the Lord, glorifying the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto 
whom be the glory for ever and ever. 11 Amen. 


The beginning of the stay in Ephesus 
(From a CopUc Papyrus not yet published) 1 

(R. Kasser) 

When Paul had said this, he departed from Smyrna to go to Ephesus. And he 
went into the house of Aquila and Priscilla, rejoicing to see the brethren whom 
he, Paul, loved. They also rejoiced, and prayed that they might be found worthy 
for Paul to set foot in their house (?). And there was joy and great gladness. And 
they spent the night watching in prayer, examining 3 <the will of God> to 
strengthen <their> heart and praying with one accord in the same form. 

The angel of the Lord came into the house of Aquila, and stood before them 
all. He spoke with Paul, so that all were troubled: for <this angel> who stood 
there was indeed visible (lit. revealed), but the words which he was speaking 
to Paul they (the bystanders) did not tear. But after he had stopped speaking 
with Paul in tongues, they fell into fear and confusion, and were silent. But Paul 
looked at the brethren and said: 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

‘ Men (and) brethren, the angel of the Lord has come to me, as you all have seen, 
and has told me: There is a great tumult coming upon thee at Pentecost... ‘ 3 

But Paul could not be sorrowful (?) because of Pentecost, for it was a kind 
of festival for (?) those who believe in Christ, the catechumens as well as the 
believers; but there was great joy ami abundance of love, with psalms and 
praises to Christ, to the confirmation of those who heard. Paul said: 

‘Men (and) brethren, hearken to what befell me when I was in Damascus, 
at the time when I persecuted the faith in God. The Spirit which fell cupon me> 
from the Father, he it is who preached to me the Gospel 4 of his Son, that I might 
live in him. Indeed, there is no life except the life which is in Christ I entered 
into a great church 3 through (?) the blessed Judas, the brother of tire Lord, who 
from the beginning gave me the exalted love of faith. 

‘I comported myself 6 in grace through (?) the blessed prophet and <applied 
myself to> the revelation of Christ who was begotten before <all> ages. While 
they preached him, I was rejoicing in the Lord, nourished by his words. But 
when I was able, I was found <worthy> to speak. I spoke with the brethren - 
Judas it was who urged 7 me - so that I became beloved of those who heard me. 

‘But when evening came I went out lovingly (?) accompanied by the 
widow Lemma and her daughter Ammia(?). I was walking in the night, 
meaning to go to Jericho in Phoenicia, 1 and we covered great distances. 9 But 
when morning came. Lemma and Ammia were behind me, they who... agape , 
for I (?) was dear <to their hearts (?), so that they were not far from me (?). There 
came a great and terrible lion out of the valley of the burying-ground. But we 
were praying, so that through the prayer Lemma and Ammia did not come 
upon the beast (?). 10 But when I finished praying, the beast had cast himself at 
my feet. I was filled with the Spirit (and) looked upon him, (and) said to him: 
“Lion, what wilt thou?” But he said: “I wish to be baptized.” 

‘I glorifed God, who had given speech to the beast and salvation to his 
servants. Now there was a great river in that place; I went down into it and he 
followed me. As doves (?) in terror before eagles (?) fly into a house in order 
to escape, so was it with Lemma and Ammia, who did not cease (?) to pray 
humbly, until I had praised and glorified God. I myself was in fear and 
wonderment, in that I was on the point of leading the lion like an ox and 
baptizing him in the water. But I stood on the bank, men and brethren, and cried 
out, saying: ‘Thou who dost dwell in the heights, who didst look upon the 
humble, who didst give rest to the afflicted (?), who with Daniel didst shut the 
mouths of the lions, who didst semi to me our Lord Jesus Christ, grant that we 
... escape (?) the beast, and accomplish tire plan 11 which thou hast appointed.” 

When I had prayed thus, 1 took <the lion> by his mane <and> in the name 
of Jesus Christ immersed him three times. But when he came up out of the 
water he shook out his mane and said to me: “Grace be with thee!” And I said 
to him: “And likewise with thee.’” 


The Acts of Paul 

The lion ran off to the country rejoicing (for this was revealed to me in my heart). 
A liooess met him, and he did not yield himself to her but... ran off... 

“See now, you also, Aquila and Priscilla, have become believers in die living 
God; and in that you have been instructed (?) you have preached the Word (?).” 

But as Paul said this a great crowd was added to the faith, so that there was 
jealousy and the ruler 12 of all Asia 13 turned against Paul, that he might die. For 
there was a woman in the city who did many <good> works for the Ephesians. 
Her name was Procla. He baptized her with all her household. And there was 
a fame of the grace and much blessing between... and Pentecost. The crown 
of Christ was multiplied, so that the (heathen) people (?) in the city came to 
know a high respect (?). <People said>: ‘This man has destroyed the gods 
through his speeches: “You shall see how they are all consumed with fire!”’ 

But when Paul went out the people belonging to the city (?) seized him outside 
the prytaneum (?), brought him to the theatre, and called upon the governor 14 to 
come. But when he came he questioned Paul saying: 'Why dost thou say that and 
teach the doctrines which are condemned by the kings and rejected by the work! and 
not learned by us? Thou dost exalt (?) 13 thy God, as we (?) have heard (?), in order 
(?) to destroy the <gods> of the Remans and <of the people hero (?). Repeat 16 
<now> what thou hast said when thou didst persuade the multitude!’ 

Then Paul said: ‘Proconsul, do what thou wilt’ etc . 17 


The Acts of Paul 

* The following translation of the extant texts cannot be a substitute for a critical edition 
(such as we await from W. Rordorf in the CChrSA), nor is it intended to be one. In particular 
it is not possible in the present context to arrange all the fragments meaningfully and restore 
them, just as the variants which occur in part of the text (e.g. in 3 Cor.) cannot be presented in 
full. All that is attempted here is to provide a readable text from the material handed down in many 
farms, and one which in my view allows us to recognise the original structure and content of the 
API. Thai many questions must remain open, and others are still debated, has already been 
emphasised in the introduction. References are noted only for a selection of allusions to NT 
passages or ideas. The language of the API is very close to that of the NT and other early 
Christian literature. How far we should assume a common devotional language, how far 
direct influence, is a question that cannot be examined in the notes. The tide is attested by the 
colophons in PH and PHeid; on this see above, p. 215. For the abbreviations, see p. 214. 

2. (Paul in Antioch) 

1. On the question which Antioch is meant, see above, p. 218f. 

2. Cf. Acts 14:19; 13:50(7). 

3. Cf. Rom. 12:17. 

3. (Acts of Paul and Thecla) 

1. In other MSS: 'Martyrdom of the holy proto-martyr Thecla' (or something similar). 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

2. Cf. 2 Tim. 4:10; 1:15; 4:14 (?). 

3. Lat ‘expected ooevil from them'. 

4. The words in brackets are missing in pan of the tradition, and are probably secondary. Cf. 
Klijn. VigClr 17. 1963.19f. 

5. Cf. Acts 2:11. 

6. Cf. 2 Tun. 1:16; 4:19. 

7. The following lines are also in Pap. Antinoopolis (PA). 

8. PA: ‘with his children and Zeno and his wife'. 

9. Cf. Acts 6:15. 

10. a. Mt. 5:8. 

11. a. 2 Clem. 8.6; 2 Cor. 6:16. 

12. a. 1 Cor. 7:29; Rom. 8:17. 

13. Cf. Mt 5:4. 

14. Cf. Mt. 5:9. 

15. Cf. 2 Clem. 6.9. 

16. Cf. 1 Cor. 6:3. 

17. Mt. 5:7; this beatitude is lacking in PHeid. 

18. a. Mt 10:42. 

19. Cf. Mt 11:29. 

20. So the Greek MSS. 

21. In Greek MSS ‘that I may see her’ is lacking. 

22. The following lines in Pap. Ox. 6 

23. Cf. Rev. 14:4. 

24. Cf. 2 Tim. 2:18. 

25. So with PHeid against Lipsius. to be regarded as original. 

26. a. Mk. 15:4. 

27. Cf. Acu 14:15 eial 

28. Cf.Ps. 94:1. 

29. Cf. Exod. 20:5. 

30. Cf. Acts 24:25. 

31. Cf. Lk. 10:39; Acu 2:11. 

32. So EFG Lat Syr. PHeid 

33. Cf. Lk. 23:18. 

34. a. Acu 13:50; 14:19. 

35. Lat. A: signum cruris ; B: exit ns is manibus simihtudinem cruris. 

36. a. Mart. Polyc. 15.1. 

37. Only in part of the tradition. 

38. Cf. Acts 4:24; 14:15. 

39. Only in pan of the tradition; missing in PHeid. 

40. a. Acu 1:24; 15:8. 

41. Cf.Mt. 8:19. 

42. Cf. Gebhardt xcviii; PHeid- 'A Syrian by the name of Alexander. <who> was the great man 
in Antioch and did much in the city among all the rulers.' On this passage cf. above, p. 219. 

43. Omitted in the Greek tradition; cf. Gebhardt xcixf. and PHeid. 

44. Cf. Mk. 15:26. 

45. ‘Judgment' is perhaps secondary; cf. Gebhardt, pp. c f. 

46. Lipsius with some MSS: 'daughter Falconilla’. 

47. Cf. on the other hand 2 Clem. 8.3. 

48. So according to Gebhardt, pp. ci f. 

49. Gebhudt (p. ci) would assume as original: ‘And when Tryphaena heard this, she mourned.’ 

50. a. Mart Polyc. 8:3. 


The Acts of Paul 

51. Lipsius: Ttyphaena, the queenBut this is probably a secondary addition, cf. Gebhardt p. civ. 

52. Cf. F. Bovon, Litfeu in neuer Sicht (BThSt 8), 1985,244, note 56: ‘xivaxdneclcrflAAA 
1263] - “whet is it about thee?" is probably better to be rendered “what surrounds you?”. The 
motif of the protective enfolding deserves closer examination.' 

53. Cf. Mk. 1:11 par. 

54. Bovon (loc. cit.) translates ‘goal, boundary', thus reads H>Qoq instead of 666;. 

55. Cf. 2 Thess. 1:2. 

4. (Paul in Myra) 

1. Cf. Mk. 10:27 par. 

2. Cf. e.g. Mt 15:29-31. 

3. a. 1 Thess. 1:9; Acts 14:15, etc. 

4. Cf. Acts 3:6. 

5. Cf. Mk. 5:43. 

6. Cf. Acts 18:9. 

7. a. Mk. 14:48 par. 

5. (Paul in Sidon) 

1. Cf. Acts 13:13ff. 

2. Cf. Gen. 19. 

3. Cf. Acts 4:29. 

7. (Paul in Ephesus) 

1. Cf. Ml 10:28. 

2. Cf. Rom. 13:13; Gal. 5:20f.; 1 Clem. 30:1. 

3. Probably to be restored: 'that there is only one God; ’ cf. 1 Cor. 8:4fE; Eph. 4:5,6; 1 Tim. 
2:5; Jas. 2:19; cf. also PHeid p. 5.11 (above, p. 238): ‘There is no other God save Jesus Christ, 
the Son of the Blessed.' 

4. Cf. Mt. 3:12 par. 

5. On Paul's sermon cf. the parallel tradition in PG. as yet unpublished; French translation 
in Kasser. RHPR 40, 1960, 55f. 

6. Cf. Acts I9:24ff. 

7. Restore: ‘the display of animals'. 

8. Restore: ‘of the beasts'. 

9. a. 1 Cor. 3:13; 2 Pet. 3:7; MP 3 (see above p. 262). 

10. Cf. Rom. 8:15,23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5. 

11. Cf. Acts 4:12. 

12. a. Acts 14:15 etc. 

13. Cf. 2 Tim. 3:11. 

14. Schmidt nil.p. 33, ad loc.: ’6tapaeTV(>£o8m strictly “adjure”, cf. 1 Tim. 5:21; 2 Tim. 
2:14; 4:1 - perhaps “as Paul thus testified”, see Acts 20:21,23,24; 23:11, etc. AThe 269.5 
(Coptic text p. 37.23) or generally “pray in adjuration". ’ 

15. Cf. AThe c. 20, known also elsewhere in descriptions of the bai ting of Christians. On this cf. 
G.Poupon.‘L’ a c tni sa fK ] n (ternag>e dam IcsActesApocrypbes’.m Bovon effl/..Ler4ct«apocr>p6ej 
da Apdtrts, 71 -93. Poupon gives an interpretation of the baptism of Anemilla on pp.86ff. 

16. Cf.2PW. 1:21. 

17. Schmidt: pi$ <porvfj corrupted from Qia = Geia <pojvf). 

18. Perhaps to be restored: 'in anguish’. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

19. Schmidt restores: ’a comely youth'. 

8. (Paul in Philippi) 

1. The introduction, the letters and the intervening material are handed down only in PHeid. 
The letter! and the intervening material are in the Armenian tradition (A) and in Ephraem’i 
Syriac commentary (E). Letter 1 and the intervening material (2) in a Latin version are in 
the Zurich MS (Z). Letters 1 and 3 without the intervening material are preaerved in Cheek 
in Pap. Bodm. and in Latin in the MSS in Milan (M), Laon (L) and Berlin (B). The letter of 
Paul alone (3) iis contained in Latin in the Paris MS (P). 

2. It is improbable that this icntence U intended to be direct speech (introduced in the original 
Greek text by 6u?); the Coptic text of 3 Cor. 1:1 Iff. suggests the contrary. 

3. The superscriptions vary in the tmiibon. The following notes to 3 Cor. 1-3 relate to the verses. 

1. MLB A Stephanus. Cf. 1 Cor. 1:16; 16:15-17; 2 Tim. 4:21; Lk. 1:3; Acts 1:1. MBZAE: 
the brother PBodm: tfi) tv xvQiip- 

2. Cf. 2 Tim. 2:18. 

4. PBodm leaves out ‘apostles’; in PB 'other' is missing. 

5. Cf. 1 Cor. 11:2. 

6. PBodm. omits: 'such'. Cf. Phil. 1:24. 

7. and 8. show many variants in the tradition; cf. Klyn, op. tit 7f„ who considers the reading in 
PHeid as the original. At the end of v.8 PBodm and B add: ‘or answer us’. 

14. B: our Lord Jesus Christ 
16. Cf. 2 Tim. 4:9. 

2. 2. A adds: ‘so that he forgot the bonds’. 

3. Cf. Phil. 1:23; 2:27. 

5. Cf. 2 Cor. 2:4. 

3. Superscription after PBodm. 

1. a. Eph. 3:1; Phm. 9. 

2. Cf. 2 Cor. 2:4; Gal. 1:6. 

3. PBodm omits: *my*. 

4. Cf. I Cor. 15:3; Gal. 1:17; Acu 1:21 f. 

5. Cf. Rom. 1:3. 

6. Cf. I Tim. 1:15. 

8. Cf. Rom. 8:15,23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1J. After v. 8 in M A P a longer addition, which 
agrees with v. 15/16. 

11. AE: ‘he laid hands cm them and slew them'. The conclusion of the verse is a secondary 
addition in MBPA. a. 2 Thess. 2:4. 

13. <Holy> MPA. but probably secondary. - chrough ftre> PBodm. Cf. Klyn, op. tit. 8f. 

14. The verse only in MBPA. 

16. The conclusion is an addition in PA. similarly in B. 

19. Cf. Eph. 2:3. - <far from faith> M. 

20. ‘They are themselves therefore children of wrath’: missing in PBodm and PHeid. 

22. Cf. Eph. 2:2; 5:6. - V. 22/23 only in MPBA. 

26. Cf. 1 Cor. 15:37; Jn. 12:24f. With this verse PHeid breaks off. 

28. Conclusion in MPBA. 

29. <but fled>: MP. - V. 29/30 cf. Mt. 12:40 par. 

31. Cf. Mt. 6:30 par.; Rom. 6:4. 

32. Cf. 2 Kings 13:21ff. - After v. 32 in MPA a longer addition (- v. 33). 


The Acts of Paul 

34. a. Gal. 6:17. 

35. a. Phil. 3:8; Gal. 6:17; Phil. 3:11. 

36. Cf. Gal. 6:16; 1 Cor. 3:14. - Conclusion of verse an addition in MPBA. 

38. a. Mt. 3:7, etc. 

40. <gnce and k>ve>: MP 

9. (Paul in Corinth) 

1. PHeid: great joy. 

2. Probably in the sense of ‘penitentiary*. 

3. Schmidt restores: ds dveoiv » for relief; cf. 2 Cor. 7:5. 

4. Schmidt (nn. p. 45. n. 11) gathers together the expressions used to describe Paul's 
preaching in the API. 

5. Schmidt restores vtonyta, which however does not make sense. In his apparatus he 
suggests vryjxeiav. but this does not fit the traces which remain. 

6. Restore with Schmidt: <1 mean to Rome>‘. On the furnace of fire cf. Ml 13:42,50; Dan. 3. 

7. a. 1 Sam. 24. 

8. In the lacuna reference is made to Nabal, cf. 1 Sam. 24. On this cf. Schmidt nil. p. 47: 
*In both cases David thus overcame his adversary without any action of his own. since God 
was with him So Paul too hopes to master the destiny which threatens him through the power 
bestowed upon him by the Lord'. 

9. Lacuna in PH and PHeid; possibly: into <the city> of death'. 

10. On biXto&vta cf. 1 Clem. 3ff.; MP 1 (above, pp. 260f ). 

11. Restoration after Schmidt. 

12. i.e. he will surpass all the faithful. 

13. Schmidt restores PH according to PHeid: ‘according to the custom of fasting'. This however 
would not fill the lacuna, and the expression remains obscure. Probably what is meant is that after 
the preparation by fasting the Eucharist is celebrated, and to this an Agape is appended. 

10. (From Corinth to Italy) 

1. Whether the name Artemon is taken from Acts 27:40 remains questionable. The word, 
which in Acts indicates the foresail, also frequently occurs as a name. Cf. APt 5 (Theon). 

2. The meaning is probably: Artemon welcomes Paul, and esteems him as if the Lord himself 
had embarked on the ship. 

3. JiQOOixovopoOvxa is to be understood from p. 7.14f.: Paul's path, as part of the plan of 
salvation (olxovopia). is predetermined. Cf. 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11. 

4. dvtuOev here = afresh; cf. above, p. 237 note 35. 

5. Here PB begins. 

6. a. 2 Cor. 6:7; 2 Tim 2:15. 

7. a. 2 Tim 2:3. 

8. i.e. God's commandments. 

9. Cf. Num 21:33. 

10. Cf. Num 21:1-3; Adar = Arad. 

11. PO: 'of the fruit of the power’. On 'fruit of the loins’ » posterity, cf. Acts 2:30 (Ps. 
132:11). For the author of the API the expression was probably only a pious phrase. 

12. a. Acts 7:52. 

13. On the whole section cf. 3 Cor. Schmidt (Iin, pp. 57ff.) has indicated the parallels. 

14. Here begins PM2, which however contains only 9 lines. 

15. The translation follows PB and Sanders. The sense is not quite clear. 

16. On the prophetic word cf. 2 Pet. 1:19; xuo<|>ogeioOai occurs also in Ign. Eph. 18.2. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

17. 'King' restored after PM. where a 8 can be read. 

18. Translation after Sanders; cf. Mt. 4:16; Is. 9:2. 

19. Here PH p. 8 ends; the following words are from PB. On the enumeration of the miracles 
cf. Mt 4:24; 10:8. 11:5. etc. 

20. The enumeration of the miracles follows the Synoptics. 

21. Cf. Mk. U:22f. par. 

11. Martyrdom of the Holy Apostle Paul 

1. Cf. 2 Tim. 4:10. 

2. a. Acts 2:41. 

3. a. Phil. 4:22. 

4. Cf. Acts 20:9ff. 

5. Cf. 1 Tim. 1:17. 

6. Cf. 1 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 2:4. 

7. Cf. 2 Tim. 2:3. 

8. PH begins again here. 

9. Cf. Acts 4:8. 

10. Here an addition in PH from PH p. 2. 24ff. 

11. Cf. Rom. 14:8. 

12. a. Acts 17:31. 

13. a. Jn. 18:36. 

14. Cf. Jn. 11:25f. 

15. Addition in PH. which however is poorly preserved. 

16. Addition in PH: ‘through the voice of the Holy Spirit'. 

17. Acts 1:5. 

18. Cf. 1 Tim. 1:17, etc. 


1. Cf. RHPR, 1960.45ff. The papyrus is in a very poor condition and we can give only extracts. 
In addition the translation here presented must be considered provisional The text so far as it is 
legible, complete and with a more accurate translation, will be supplied in the Editio princeps. 

2. Coptic: &va*piveoOcu_ 

3. This section is scarcely legible. The substance is: 'Put thy trust in God and Christ; they 
will support thee in this trial*. 

4. Coptic: cuoryveXiCEiv. 

5. Coptic: botXxjpia. 

6. Coptic: rtoXtxeveoOcu. 

7. Coptic: npoipertav. 

8. Confusion of 'Phoenicia' and 'palms’. 

9. Lit. marches. 

10. An obscure passage: 'fell upon’? 

11. Coptic: obtovopux. 

12. Coptic: dpxurv 

13. Written 'Amis’, with one or two letters added as a correction above the line. 

14. Coptic: flYeptirv. 

15. Or ’exaggerate' (?) - jis(e] 

16. Lit.: 'Say!' 

17. What follows is supplied by the Greek text of the Hamburg Papyrus; but cf. RHFhR 40. 
1960,55ff. (the Coptic text diverges from the Greek). 


The Acts of Peter 

4. The Acts of Peter 

Wilhelm Schneemelcher 


Preliminary note: in this introduction to the ancient Acts of Peter we cannot 
undertake to discuss the entire Petrine literature of the early Church and its 
interrelations. 1 We must confine ourselves to the problems of this one particular 
work, the ancient ned£et£ nrcpou, and above all discuss the problems connected 
with the extant texts. 

1. Literature: Texts. Lipsius, Aa 1,45-103; L. Vouaux, Les Actes de Pierre. Introduction, 
Textes, Traduction et Commentates, Paris 1922; C. Schmidt, Die alien Petrusakten (TU 
24.1), 1903.3-7 (Coptic text); James Brashler and Douglas M. Parrott, ’The Acts of Peter’, 
BG4.128.1 -141.7, in Nag Hammadi Codices V2-5 and VI with Papyrus Berolinensis 8502. J 
and 4 (NHC XI). Leiden 1979,473-493 (Coptic and English). On the oriental versions cf. 
BHO 933-954; Vouaux, op. cit. 19-22; Poupon, in ANRW (see below); Louis Leloir, 
'Martyre de Pierre (BHO 933)', in L. Leloir, Merits apocryphes sur les Apdtres. Traduction 
de ridition arminiennede Venise 1 (CChrSA 3), Tumhoul 1986,64-76 (French trans.). Chi 
the Slavonic tradition cf. de Santos, Oberlieferung 1,52-59. A new critical edition is being 
prepared by G. Poupon for the CChrSA. 

Translations: German: G. Ficker, NTApo 1 , 383-422; NTApo 2 226-249 (revised for 
NTApo 5 and NTApo 5 by W. Schneemelcher); W. Michael is, 317-379. French: Vouaux, op. 
cit. 221-467. English: James, 300-336. Italian: Erbctta II, 135-168; Moraldi II, 981-1040. 

Studies: older literature in Lipsius. Apostelgeschichten 11/1, 1887 and supplementary 
volume 1890; Hamack. Lit. gesch . 1/1,131-136; A.Baumstark, Die Petrus- undPaulusacten 
in der literarischen Oberlieferung der syrischen Kirche, 1902; G. Ficker. Die Petrusakten. 
Beitrdge :u ihrem Verstdndnis , 1903; id. in NTApoHdb, 395-491 (detailed commentary); 
C. Schmidt. Die alien Petrusakten , 1903 (see above); id., 1 Studien zu den alien Petrusakten *, 
ZKG43,1924.321-348 [= Studien I]; 45.1927,481-513 (= Studien II); id.. 'Zur Datierong 
der alien Petrusakten', ZNW 29, 1930, 150-155; Th. Nissen, ‘Die Petrusakten und ein 
bardesanitischer Dialog in der Aberkiosvtu'. ZNW 9.1908,190-203.315-328; J. Flamion. 
'Les actes apocryphes de Pierre', RHEIX. 1908,233-254,465-490; X. 1909,5-29,215-277; 
XI. 1910, 5-28, 223-256, 447-470, 675-692; XII. 1911. 209-230. 437-450; C. Erbes. 
‘Ursprung und Umfang der Petrusakten'.ZKG 32,1911,497-530; L. Vouaux (see above); 
C.H. Turner, The Latin Acts of Peter', JTS XXXII, 1931, 119-133; C.L. Sturhahn. 'Die 
Christologie der iltesten apokryphen Apostelakten' (Theol. Diss. Heidelberg, 1951, type¬ 
script); Vielhauer, Lit. gesch. 696-699; E. PIQmacher,' Apokryphe Apostelakten’, in Pauly- 
Wissowa RE. Suppl. XV, 1978. cols. 19-24; Brian McNeil, 'A Liturgical Source in Acts of 
Peter 38’, VigChr 33, 1979, 342-346; F. Bovon et al., Les Actes apocryphes des Apdtres. 
Christianisme et Monde Paten, 1981 (cf. index); G. Stuhlfauth, Die apokryphen 
Petrusgeschichten in deraltchristlichen Kunst, 1925; G. Poupon, 'Les “Actes de Pierre" et 
leurremaniement', ANRW 1125.6.1988,4363-4383 J ; D.R. Cartlidge, 'Transfigurations of 
Metamorphosis Traditions in the Acts of John, Thomas and Peter’, Semeio 38.1986,53-66; 
Robert F. Stoops, Jr., 'Patronage in the Acts of Peter’, Semeia 38,91-100. 

2. Attestation: the earliest certain direct evidence for the existence of the Acts 
of Peter (APt) is the notice in Eusebius (HE m 3.2; for the text see vol. 1, p. 48). 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Eusebius speaks of the emxexXripevcu aurov (sc. rirtpcnj) ripa^eu;, which means 
that he knows a work entitled ripa^eu; Ileipov and rejects this work as uncanonical, 
just as he also rejects the Gospel of Peter, the Preaching of Peter and the Revelation 
of Peter. However Eusebius tells us nothing about the extent and contents of the APt. 
Various attempts have indeed been made to establish earlier evidence for the APt. 
The Muratorian Canon (see vol. I, pp. 34ff. for the text) does not list the APt, but many 
scholars (e.g. Schmidt, Petrusakten, p. 103; cf. also Vouaux, pp. 1 lOff.) think there 
is a reference to these Acts in the passage:' For the "most excellent Theophilus” Luke 
summarizes the several things that in his own presence have come to pass, as also 
by the omission of the Passion of Peter he makes quite clear, and equally by (the 
omission of) the journey of Paul, who from the city (of Rome) proceeded to Spain/ 
According to Schmidt ( Petrusakten , p. 105; cf. also 'Studien' n, 495) this is intended 
to express the view which the author of this table of canonical books takes of events 
not recorded in the Lucan Acts of the Apostles, namely Peter’s death and Paul’s 
journey to Spain: ‘he knows them as actual occurrences, and not only on the basis 
of oral tradition, but of a written work which he has read with interest’. But such an 
interpretation probably reads too much out of this brief comment. The author of the 
Canon gives no indication that he had before him any written account of the death 
of Peter or Paul's journey to Spain. His words must rather be taken to indicate that 
he did indeed know of these two events, but had not found them in the Lucan Acts 
because, in his opinion, Luke was not an eyewitness of these events. The source of 
his information cannot be discovered from his comment. This precludes the 
possibility of using the Muratorian Canon as a witness to the APt or even for its date. 
The brief details there given cannot determine whether common traditions are to be 
assumed for the Muratorian Canon and the APt, or what form they took. 

Two passages found in Clement of Alexandria have been connected with the APt. 
In Strom. HI 6.52 Clement observes that Peter and Philip produced children, a remark 
which in no way helps to settle the problem of the APt. In Strom. VII11.63 he relates 
that Peter encouraged his wife on the way to her martyrdom. This statement also has 
nothing to do with the APt, but belongs rather to the oral traditions known to Clement. 

The same judgment applies to a passage in Hippolytus. In Ref. VI20 he describes 
the arrival of Simon at Rome: ‘This Simon, who perverted many in Samaria by 
magical am, was convicted by the apostles and denounced, as is recorded in Acts; 
but afterwards in desperation he resumed the same practices, and on coming to Rome 
he (again) came into conflict with the apostles; and as he perverted many by his 
magical am Peter continually opposed him. And as his end in Gitta drew near, he 
sat beneath a plane-tree and taught. And now, being almost discredited, in order to 
gain time he said that if he were buried alive he would rise again on the third day. 
And ordering a grave to be dug by his disciples, he made them bury him. So they did 
as he instructed them, but he has remained (buried) to this day; for he was not die 
Christ.’ (Hipp. Ref. VI 20.2f.; Markovich, PTS 25, 228). C. Schmidt says of this 
passage ’Hippolytus’ narrative therefore already has this scene from the APt as its 
basis’ C Petrusakten , p. 104). But this assertion is quite groundless. Hippolytus relies 
primarily on the account given in the canonical Acts, and then gives a tradition of 
Simon's death which has nothing to do with the APt as we have them (cf. ActVerc 
c. 32 = Mart. Petr. c. 3). Hippolytus therefore is not a witness for the APt. 


The Acts of Peter 

Origen in the third book of his Commentary on Genesis (according to Eusebius, 
HE III 1.2) relates that Peter was in Rome towards the end of his life: ‘He was 
crucified head-downwards; for he requested that he might suffer thus.’ This 
statement agrees in substance with the account given in the extant APt (ActVerc c. 
37 = Mart. Petr. c. 8), but is not a literal citation. It can therefore be only a supposition 
that Origen, who certainly knew some part of the apocryphal literature, had also read 
the APt; this point cannot be certainly established. Certainly this statement gives no 
indication whatever of the form and content of the APt which Origen possibly knew. 
If he did have the work before him, this would establish the terminus ad quern , since 
the Commentary on Genesis was compiled before 231 (Eusebius, HE VI 24.2). 

Great importance has often been attached to some lines from the Carmen 
apologeticum of Commodian, which mention the dog who speaks to Simon (v. 626 
= ActVerc cc. 9,11.12) and the talking infant (v. 629f. = ActVerc c. 15). But even 
if Commodian’s date were accurately known (probably middle of 3rd cent.), 3 these 
lines again would signify nothing more than that Commodian knew the legends of 
the speaking animals as they appear in the APt and the API. They do not prove 
knowledge of the APt as a whole, and hardly gi ve grounds for more precise inferences 
about the currency of the APt in the West in the 3rd century. 

On the other hand the author of the Didascalia (probably fust half of the 3rd 
century) seems actually to have used the APt. In VI, 7-9 he gives an account of the 
beginnings of heresy and makes Peter describe his encounters with Simon in 
Jerusalem and Rome. C. Schmidt has collected the various points which indicate that 
the APt were the basis for the Didascalia ( Petrusakten , p. 147; cf. also Vouaux, pp. 
119f. and Schmidt, ‘Studien’ C, 507). Here the most important point is the fact that 
Simon’s first meeting with the apostles takes place in Jerusalem, which disagrees 
with Acts 8:14ff. We cannot in all points arrive at the certainty which Schmidt 
displays; 4 but there is plenty of evidence for the truth of the contention that the author 
of the Didascalia used the APt. Following Hamack's suggestion Schmidt has also 
attempted to show that Porphyry knew the Acts of Peter (Schmidt, Petrusakten. pp. 
167ff.). Two passages preserved by Macarius Magnes (II22 and IV 4p are taken as 
evidence of this knowledge. The point depends especially on the fact that according 
to Porphyry - and contrary to the official Roman tradition - Peter was in Rome for 
only a short time before his death there by crucifixion. But it is hardly possible to 
prove conclusively that Porphyry derived this assertion from the APt. 

Accordingly not much remains of the numerous so-called testimonies to the APt 
for the period before Eusebius. Only Origen and the Didascalia can be used as 
witnesses to its existence; and they give no reliable information about the extent and 
contents of the work. 

Now it has been thought that these scant witnesses could be enriched by an 
assessment of the Pseudo-Clementines. Thus H. Waitz in NTApo 2 (212-226) sought 
to reconstruct from the Pseudo-Clementines the npct£etg flexpov, the relationship 
of which to the remaining Petertexts (i.e. the ActVerc and the Coptic fragment; see below) 
he defined on the principle that both * derive from a common tradition, which has survived 
in its original form in the Pseudo-Clementine FIqc^eu; IletQOv’ (NTApo 2 213). 

C. Schmidt, rightly, vigorously contested this hypothesis. 4 He himself sought to 
show that the author of the source-document underlying the Pseudo-Clementines 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

used the ancient APt. Now the question of the relation of the Pseudo-Clementines 
to the ancient APt is linked with many others which have by no means been 
unambiguously settled (date, sources, etc). These Pseudo-Clementine problems 
cannot be discussed here (see below, pp. 483ff.), but we must give notice that 
considerable doubts have been raised about Schmidt's theory that the author of the 
basic document used the APt. 7 It is for example doubtful whether the differences in 
the localities in which the encounters between Peter and Simon take place, in the APt 
on the one hand and the basic document of the Pseudo-Clementines on the other, 
allow of such a simple explanation as Schmidt’s (op. cit. 31f.). 

All that we can say is that it is perfectly possible that the author of the Pseudo- 
Clementine basic document, which is to be dated to the period around 260(see below, 
pp. 492f.), knew the material which is also used in the APt. It has not yet been possible 
to determine in what form this material lay before him. 

It is particularly difficult to determine the relation of the APt to the Acts of John, 
especially since this problem is bound up with the whole complex of questions about 
the dating of the five ancient apostolic Acts and their connections with one another. 

It should probably be said to begin with that any anempf at a dating of the 
individual Acts has to start out from the texts concerned in each case, and such 
statements contained in them as may offer anything to our purpose. Here we must 
heed the warning voiced by Junod- Kaestli when we undertake to date a text in which 
precise historical statements are lacking, and the reading of which has left no direct 
traces, extreme caution is called for.' This holds also for the chronological and 
literary relationship of the five Acts to one another. Statements on this subject would 
indeed only be possible if we had firm clues to work with for the individual works. 
Except for the API, such fixed points for the chronology are lacking; and for literary 
dependence the evidence in general must be called rather meagre. 

Junod-Kaestli in their edition of the AJ have investigated the relation of the AJ 
to the APt in a comprehensive manner.’ The result is simply the conjecture that some 
kind of dependence of the APt on the AJ is not to be excluded (here the great age of 
the AJ is in a certain fashion presupposed). Identity of the author of the AJ with that 
of the APt, which Zahn m his time affirmed {Gesch des rul Kanons II. 860), is to be ruled 
out. However, there remain similarities, the significance of which must be examined. 

First of all there is the phenomenon of polymorphy. In the ‘Preaching of the 
Gospel ’ (AJ c. 87ff.) John comes to speak about the earthly appearance of Christ, and 
describes at the outset how he and his brother James were called by Jesus, when James 
saw the Lord as a boy, while John saw him standing by in the form of a handsome, 
good-looking man (cc. 88f.). There follows the account of the Transfiguration, a 
remarkable new version of the story (c. 90), and here too the theme of the Saviour’s 
distinct forms plays an important part. 10 Now in APt 20, Peter likewise tells the 
congregation assembled to hear the Gospel that Christ was seen by the disciples in 
the form that each one could comprehend. Here too the story of the Transfiguration 
is given as an example, but without doubt the author keeps closer to the biblical 
narrative. Moreover the story in c. 21 about the widows whose sight is restored and 
who are then made to describe what they have seen is also characterised by the theme 
of polymorphy: some saw him as an old man, others as a youth, etc. 

An accurate interpretation of the two chapters in the APt shows that we can indeed 


The Acts of Peter 

speak of certain polymorphous appearances, about which the author reports, but that 
the difference from the AJ is considerable. This becomes especially clear in the final 
sentence of c. 21:‘Certainly God is greater than our thoughts, as we have learned from 
the aged widows, how they saw the Lord in a variety of forms.’ The author has taken 
up the widespread motif of polymorphy in order to emphasise the limitations of our 
possible knowledge of God. 11 In the AJ this motif stands in a wholly different context 
(cf. Schaferdiek above, p. 166). At any rate we cannot deduce from these chapters 
of the APt a literary dependence on the AJ. 

Other passages which have been adduced do not take us any further. Thus in AJ 
c. 98 various designations for the Cross of Light are listed, so that a series of 
christological predicates is assembled. 12 In APt 20 we find a similar list of 
designations for Jesus: in AJ it is Logos, Mind (voOg), Jesus, Christ, Door, Way, 
Bread, Seed, Resurrection, Son, Father, Spirit, Life, Truth, Faith, Grace: in APt it 
is Door, Light, Way, Bread, Water. Life,Resurrection, Refreshment, Pearl, Treasure. 
Seed, Abundance, Mustard-seed, Vine, Plough, Grace, Faith, Word. 

Comparison of the two lists does indeed show several common features, but the 
terms also derive from the common Christian tradition. They stand in the two works 
in a completely different context As Justin {Dial. 100.4) and the Letterto Diognetus (9.6) 
show, such catalogues occur in other connections as well, and therefore can scarcely be 
used as evidence for the question of the literary dependence of the APt upon the AJ. 

Finally, C. Schmidt ( Petrusakten, pp. 97ff.) sought to establish that the APt c. 39 
(10) are indebted to the AJ cc. 99ff. But this passage likewise does not admit a 
conclusive proof of dependence.' 1 To sum up, the ostensible cases where the APt 
borrowed from the AJ, which on a different chronology may and indeed must be seen 
as borrowings by the AJ from the APt, are by no means demonstrable literary 
plagiarisms. They are in the main to be explained in that the ideas they contain have 
similar origins, from the historian of religion’s point of view, despite their very 
different theological intention and application. 14 Thus, so far as we can see today, the 
AJ prove nothing in regard to the attestation, the dating and the sources of the APt. 

The case is different with the API. Here we can put the case more briefly, since 
C. Schmidt has probably said all that is necessary. Whereas formerly Schmidt 
strongly upheld the dependence of the APt, he abandoned this view in consequence 
of the discovery of the Hamburg Papyrus of the API (cf. pp. 230f. above). In this 
papyrus there occurs a variant of the famous ‘Quo vadis’ scene (APt c. 35 = Mart, 
c. 6), which does not really fit its context. From this and other sections (especially 
the story ofTheon, APt c. 5) Schmidt has rightly concluded that the author of the API 
used and transcribed the APt.' 5 The significance of this for dating the APt remains 
to be discussed (cf. p. 283). Here we need only report the API as being among the 
few witnesses for the existence of the APt before Eusebius’ time. 

In the 4th century the sources mentioning the APt become rather more plentiful. 
This has been pointed out often enough in the relevant literature (especially by C. 
Schmidt, Vouaux and Flamion) and need not be repeated here. Two facts stand out: 

1. The Manichean Psalm-book clearly uses the APt among other apocryphal 
books of Acts (cf. above pp. 87f.). 

2. The polemic against the apocryphal Acts of apostles, known to us principally 
from numerous references in Augustine, led to an almost total disappearance of these 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Acts, including the APt. 16 

One of the statements in Augustine is especially important as proving that the 
Coptic fragment (below, pp. 285f.) belong to the APt. Augustine in his treatise 
against Adimantus attacks the Manicheans ’ rejection of the canonical Acts, in which 
they rely principally on Acts 5:Iff., and says, ‘They show great blindness in 
condemning this since, among the apocrypha, they read ami treat as an important 
work the one which 1 have mentioned about the apostle Thomas and about the 
daughter of Peter himself who became paralysed through the prayers of her father, 
and about the gardener’s daughter who died at the prayer of the said Peter, and they 
reply that this was expedient for them, that the one should be crippled with paralysis 
and the other die; nevertheless they do not deny that this was done at the prayers of 
the apostle’ (Augustine, c. Adimantum Man. disc. XVII; ed. Zycha, CSEL XXV 1, 
p. 170,9-16). Even if Augustine does not mention the APt directly, it is clear that he 
knows an apocryphal work, translated into Latin, which contained the story of Peter’s 
daughter. But in fact it can only have been the APt to which the Coptic fragment 

Finally we may note that the scanty attestation of the APt even after Eusebius’ 
time (until Photius, cod. 114, on which see Schiferdiek, above pp. 87ff.) is 
supplemented through the use of the APt in later Acts of apostles. 17 The texts which 
are to be mentioned in this connection include some which are important for the 
textual tradition. In the Vita Abercii (4th century; ed. Th. Nissen, 1912) the following 
passages are taken verbatim from the Acts of Peter 

Act. Verc. c.2 (Lipsius p. 46. 31 -47. 11 
Act. Verc. c. 20 (p. 67. 3-8) 

Act. Vac. c. 20 (p. 67. 26*8. 15) 

Act. Vac. c. 7 (p. 53.20-29) 

Act. Vac. c. 21 (p. 68. 17-69. 2) 

= ViL Ab.c. 13 (Nissen. p.ll. 12-12.9) 
= ViL Ab. c. 15 (p. 13.7-11) 

= ViL Ab. c. 15 (p. 13.16-152) 

= ViL Ab. c. 24 (p. 19.9-20.2) 

= Vit. Ab. c. 26 (p. 20.11-23.1) 

These passages, of which full use is made in the translation presented below, are 
of special interest in that they put us in a position to evaluate the Latin translation 
of the APt given in the Vercelli MS. The Latin translator has obviously followed the 
Greek text practically word for word. Another instructive feature is that these 
borrowed sections all consist of speeches; clearly the imagination of the author of 
the Vita Abercii was not quite equal to composing such occasional speeches and he 
therefore borrowed from the APt. 

The Acts of Philip (see below, pp. 468ff.) are also probably to be counted among 
the witnesses from the 4th/5th centuries. At three points in this work we may assume 
knowledge and use of the APt. 

Act. Phil. c. 80-85 (Bonnet pp. 32f.) = Act Verc 28 

Act. Phil. c. 140 (p. 74) = Act Verc 38 (Mart. c. 9) 

Act. Phil. c. 142 (p. 81) = Copbc fragment (Peta’s daughta) 

It cannot indeed be conclusively proved that the author of the Act. Phil, actually 
transcribed die APt. But the agreements are so strong that literary dependence has 


The Acts of Peter 

to be suspected. 11 Again, the Acta Xaruhippae et Polyxenae (ed. M.R. J ames, Apocrypha 
anedocta, Texts and Studies IL3, 1893, pp. 43-85) seem to have used the APl Thus 
following C. Schmidt (‘Studien’, H, 494f.) we can see in c. 24 an excerpt from the 
beginning of the Vercelli Acts. Further details, especially the name Xanthippa, 
indicate a literary connection; indeed the author of these late Acts (probably 6th 
century) seems in general to have borrowed freely from other apocryphal Am. 1 * 

In thcActaSS. Nerei et Achilla (5th-6th century, edited by H. Achelis, 7T/XL2,1893) 
at least c. 15 can hardly be thought of without its prototype in the Acts of Peter, which, 
it is important to note, is the Coptic narrative ofPeter’sdaughtcr. All sorts of developments 
must certainly be noted, but the prototype is dearly discernible (cf. Schmidt, ‘Studien’ I, 
342f.; also Vouaux, pp. 155ff.). Finally it should be mentioned that the later Petrine texts 
(the so-called Linus- and Marcellus-texts) are dependent on the ancient APt (cf. Vouaux, 
pp. 129fF., 160ff^ Lipsius,Apostelgeschichten II; further details below, pp.436ff.), though 
probably not directly on the surviving Latin Vercelli Acts. 

This later use of the APt demonstrates, what C. Schmidt in particular has 
repeatedly emphasised, that the APt long continued in use in catholic circles. They 
‘originated in catholic circles and originally were read with great respect as products 
of the Great Church’; they fell into disfavour in the time after Nicaea, but nevertheless 
‘persisted for a long time as favourite reading in good catholic circles, until a 
substitute had been devised for them in the form of supposedly orthodox revisions’ 
(Schmidt, Petrusakten, p. 151). The history of the APt in the early Church allows 
these facts to be acknowledged, even though much remains obscure, and also reflects 
the history and development of the Church’s doctrine and spirituality. 

3. Surviving contents: the following passages of the ancient Acts of Peter are 

a) The so-calledArfui Vercellenses(Acl. Verc.). named after the single Latin MS 
in which the text has cotne down to us, a codex at Vercelli (cod. Verc. CLVIII, 6th 
7th century). The translation it presents originated according to Turner (77532,1931, 
119f.) not later than the 3rd or 4th century. Its contents are not quite correctly 
represented by the title inferred by Upsius. ‘Actus Petri cum Simone' (cf. Aa 1,45). 
It is better to assume with C. Schmidt (’Studien’, II, 510) that the title read. Actus 
Petri apostoli = Ilpd^a? n£ipo\j xoO <5uioat6kov, which indeed would be the title 
which accords with the contents. 

After a short account of the departure of Paul for Spain (cc. 1-3) we read of the 
arrival of Simon in Rome and of Peter’s journey thither prompted by divine 
instructions (cc. 4-6). There follow the accounts of the recovery of the Roman 
congregation by Peter, of his controversy with Simon, which reaches its climax in 
the contest in the forum (cc. 7-29) and finally Peter’s martyrdom (cc. 30-41). In the 
Latin MS one leaf is missing (c. 35-36). This gap is closed by the Greek text of the 
martyrdom, of which three manuscripts exist. Of these three Greek manuscripts. 
Bonnet already used two; the third has become known only in recent times. They are: 

Cod. Patmiacus 48,9th cent. = P 

Cod. Athous Vatoped. 79,10th/l 1th cent. = A 

Cod. Ochrid. bibl. mun. 44,11th cent = O® 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

Besides the three Greek MSS of the Martyrdom there is further attestation of the 
Greek text of the APt for the end of c. 25 and the beginning of c. 26 in a papyrus 
fragment: Pap. Oxyrhynchos 849 (ed. Grenfell and Hunt, Ox. Pap. VI, 1908, pp. 6- 
12; text also given by Vouaux, pp. 374ff„ in his apparatus). Lastly we must recall 
the passages of the Vita Abercii cited above (p. 276) which, in spite of the slight 
revision they disclose, agree with the three Greek MSS of the Martyrdom and with 
the papyrus in showing that the Latin translation given in the cod. Verc. ‘is generally 
reliable, even though it is not free from misunderstandings, eccentricities and 
inexactitudes. We are also justified in observing that the Latin translator sometimes 
tries to make the sense clear by adding a few words, but seems nevertheless more 
anxious to abbreviate than to amplify' (Ficker, NTApo 2 , pp. 226f.). 

This conclusion rests upon a comparison of the texts available. It shows in fact 
that in general the Act. Verc. reproduce relatively faithfully a text which is also 
attested by the Greek witnesses. We may now ask whether this Greek Vorlage of the 
Latin version (the later Greek MSS also go back to this Vorlage) presented the original 
text of the APt, or whether it is already a revision (so G. Poupon). This question will 
require to be discussed below in connection with the composition erf' the APt. 

That the Act Verc. do not contain the complete text of the APt is shown by the fact 
that according to the Shchomeory of Nicephorus (cf. vol. L p.41 f.) this work consisted of 
2750lines, and thus was somewhat more extensive than Luke’s Gospel (2600lines). Zahn 
already calculated that according to this information we must assume the loss of about a 
third ( Gesch. des mi Kanons D, 841, note 3). Down to today but little has changed. 

As the Greek MSS and also the oriental versions show, the Martyrdom was at an 
early date already transmitted as an independent text. That this text was originally 
part of the APt can be seen from the fact that the three Greek MSS start at different points: 
A begins with Act. Verc. 30, and thus contains the narrative about Chryse etc. before the 
martyrdom proper, P and O (and a series of oriental versions) only begin at Act Verc. 33. 

The many oriental versions show the wide dissemination of the APt. and 
especially of the Martyrdom. There are Coptic. Syriac, Armenian, Arabic and 
Ethiopic texts, some of which report the Martyrdom in agreement with the Greek 
witnesses, while some probably recast material from the APt. The survey which 
Vouaux presents (op. cit. 19-21) has been supplemented and improved by Poupon 
(in his contribution to ANRW). An evaluation will follow in his edition of the APt. 

In Church Slavonic manuscripts, apart from a ' Viu Petri’ which is not directly 
connected with the APt, there is a text which corresponds to Act. Verc. from c. 7 (so 
far unpublished; cf. de Santos, Uberlieferung l 52-59). 

Finally it may be mentioned that among the Sogdian texts from Turf an, which 
F.W.K. Muller published in 1934, there is a text described by the editor as a ‘Simon’ 
fragment (siglum: TIIB 15). 21 This fragment is probably connected with the ancient 
APt (cf. c. 28 and c. 31), but contributes nothing for the reconstruction of the original text. 

b) The Story of Peter's daughter, preserved in the Coptic papyrus Berlin 8502“ 
This papyrus, discovered and edited by C. Schmidt ( Petrusakien , 1903) contains on 
pp. 128-132 and 135-141 this story, which Schmidt claimed as belonging to the APt; 
and, after Ficker had contested it, Schmidt finally established his view (cf. esp. 
Schmidt. ‘Studien' I)- The reasons adduced by Schmidt are of varying cogency, but 
are so convincing as a whole that it can no longer be doubted that we have here a 


The Acts of Peter 

fragment of the first part of the APt. which is otherwise lost. 

The contents of the story are not especially noteworthy. Peter demonstrates in the 
case of his daughter that outward suffering can be a gift from God if it has the effect 
of preserving virginity. This. then, is a miracle-story coloured by encradte sympa¬ 
thies such as we often find in the Act. Verc. The scene of the story is not directly 
indicated; but since it mentions Peter’s going to his house, and since Peter’s daughter 
lives with her father, one must assume that the setting is Peter’s home; but this, 
according to Act. Verc. c. 5, is to be looked for in Jerusalem. But since this story must 
have belonged to the first section of the APt, which has disappeared, one must 
suppose that it is in Jerusalem that the events of this section take place. It may be 
supposed that this first section already described a contest between Peter and Simon; 
since the fact that Peter when in Rome repeatedly speaks of this earlier contest with 
the magician is no argument against i t (cf. the different accounts of Paul’s conversion 
in Acts 9,22 and 26). Apart from this, hardly anything can be said about the extent 
and further contents of this first section. We know of only one other narrative that 
must have belonged to it. 

c) In the apocryphal Epistle of Titus (above, pp. 53ff.) there is found a narrative 
of a gardener’s daughter, who falls down dead at the prayer of Peter, is then restored 
to life (Mi her father’s petition, but a few days later is seduced and abducted. This story, 
which is hardly misinterpreted by the author of ps.-Titus, has the same (encratite) 
sympathies as the narrative of Peter’s daughter (above): it is better for a man to be 
dead than to be polluted by sexual intercourse. That this narrative taken from ps.- 
Titus belongs to the APt is shown by the reference in Augustine (c. Adimant. XVII. 
above, p. 276) where the two events are put side by side, so that they were probably 
quoted from the same apocryphal work. Certainly we have here a case of parallel 
narratives. But the Act. Verc. themselves and other apocryphal Acts present us with 
similar parallel narratives, which soon become tedious to the modem reader. 

It is questionable whether the fragment of a speech of Peter edited by de Bruyne 
belongs to the APt (de Bruyne in Revue Binidictine XXV, 1908,152f., presenting 
a fragment of a biblical concordance. Cod. Cambrai 254.13th century). C. Schmidt 
connects these words with the narrative of the gardener’s daughter 'It is highly 
probable that we have here the words spoken by the apostle to the distracted father’ 
(‘Studien’, 1,336). But this surely says more than can be proved; nothing more than 
a possibility can be established. 

The Coptic gnostic ‘Acts of Peter’ belonging to the Nag Hammadi library have 
nothing to do with the ancient APt (see below, pp. 412ff.). 

This brief survey shows that for a reconstruction of the APt - even if only a 
fragmentary one - we must look to the Act. Verc. and the Greek parallel tradition. 
This naturally does not mean that many a valuable supplement in points of detail may 
not yet result from an intensive evaluation both of the later Petrine texts (Linus, 
Marcellus) and of the versions. 

4. Composition: it may be infened from the Act. Verc. that the first section, 
which apart from a few remnants has disappeared, took place in Jerusalem (cf. 
Schmidt, ‘Studien’, II, 497ff.). Here too there evidently occurred the first collision 
between Peter and Simon, together with the events which we leam from the Coptic 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

account of Peter’s daughter and from the fragment of ps.-Titus. It should be noted 
that the author of the APt, who transferred the first controversy between Peter and 
Simon to Jerusalem, clearly did so because he was bound by the tradition of Peter’s 
twelve-year stay in Jerusalem (cf. Act Verc. c. 5). On the other hand he knew of 
Paul's activity in Rome, and of Peter’s martyrdom at Rome, and presumably had 
information of some kind about operations of Simon in Rome. We cannot say whether 
he knew Justin's account ( Apol . 262), of the statue of Simon at Rome (cf. Act Verc. 
c. 10: Marcellus reports that Simon had persuaded him to set up a statue to him). 

The composition of the work was determined by these traditions which the author 
inherited. First the two scenes of action, Jerusalem and Rome, were determined. Next 
it had to be explained how the Roman congregation coukl come into being before 
Peter’s arrival. For this purpose the author inserted the episode concerned with Paul 
in Act. Verc. c. 1-3. We cannot say with certainty whether, or in what way, the first 
section of the APt dealt with Paul. But from Peter's observation in Act. Verc. 23 we 
may assume that Paul was present at his first meeting with Simon. For Peter describes 
how Simon tried to persuade, not John and himself, as in Acts 8:18ff., but Paul and 
himself, to sell him the power of working miracles, i.e. the Holy Ghost. It is probable 
that this fact, which Peter mentions in c. 23, was previously recounted in greater detail 
in the fust section, thus preparing the way for Paul's activity in Rome. On the other 
hand the corruption of the Roman congregation by Simon can only have gone on in 
the absence of an apostle; Paul therefore had to leave Rome for Spain. No doubt the 
author took this journey of Paul's to Spain from his Epistle to the Romans, as he did 
with a number of names. 

While Paul is already at work in Rome but Peter is still bound to Jerusalem by 
the Lord’s command, there intervenes the story of Eubula, which Peter several times 
afterwards recalls (cf. Schmidt, ‘Studien’, H, 502ff ). This narrative must have been 
of some significance to the author, since he so often refers back to it.” It is in fact 
important for him since it is through this event that Simon is exposed as a magician 
and a villain, and Peter can refer to this exposure. 

The contest with Simon, which is indeed the real theme of the story of Eubula, 
is in every way an especially important element in the whole composition. This 
clearly appears in the Act Verc; the controversy with the magician Simon is to some 
extent the predominant theme to which the other narratives, and also the Martyrdom, 
arc attached and which they supplement. At the same time the Martyrdom is certainly 
assimilated to definite prototypes which were already known to the author (cf. inter 
alia H. von Campenhausen, Die Idee des Martyriums in der alien Kirche, 1936, 
especially pp. 144ff.). But he has set the narrative of Peter’s ending in close 
connection with the contest against Simon. The controversy between the two fought 
out in public in the forum certainly goes in Peter's favour, but has no appropriate 
ending. The author has reserved his account of Simon's ending in order to use it as 
the introduction to Peter’s martyrdom (Act. Verc. cc. 30-32): Simon attempts to 
ascend into heaven, but falls, breaks his limbs and comes to a miserable end. This 
is the beginning of the Martyrdom-story, which however displays no further 
connection with the story of Simon. 34 Probably the author has here adapted well- 
defined traditions which he found ready to hand. 

This attempt to unravel the composition of the APt starts out from the presuppo- 


The Acts of Peter 

sition that the Act. Vetc. have preserved the text of the original Acts. Now G. Poupon 
in his contribution to ANRW (see above, p. 271) has advanced the thesis that the Act. 
Verc. (or their Greek Vorlage) were already an adaptation of the original APt. In 
particular the inconsistencies which occur in the Act. Verc. are adduced in support 
of this theory. Thus cc. 1 -3. which are only loosely connected with the rest of the text, 
could be a secondary addition intended to provide a connection with the canonical 
Acts. The story of Marcellus also shows several absurdities. C. 10 could originally 
have been a report of the conversion and baptism of a prominent Roman. In its present 
form the text really indicates that Marcellus is not a baptized Christian. On the other 
side there are also features which point to a lapsus, as indeed in cc. 2 and 30 there 
is a suggestion of the problem of a second baptism. Poupon conjectures that the 
reviser who brought the original APt into the form in which we now have them in 
the Act. Verc. was indebted to Roman local tradition. Within the frame of this 
introduction it is not possible to examine Poupon’s thesis in detail. Many observa¬ 
tions are undoubtedly correct, and take us further in our understanding of this work. 
It is however questionable whether the conclusions which Poupon draws are 
convincing. To put the question in another way: was an originally self-contained 
work (focussing on only one apostle) altered by a redactor with specific tendencies? 
Or are the APt to be understood as a work put together from various sources which 
the reviser has not always succeeded in co-ordinating? This makes it clear that the 
interpretation of the inconsistencies and tensions which undoubtedly exist in the Act. 
Verc. (or its Greek Vorlage) hangs together with the problems of the literary form, 
the intention and the theological tendency of the work. 

5. Literary form, intention and theological tendency of the APt: although the 
contest with Simon is an essential theme of the APt, this does not imply that the work 
was written as a polemical tract against S imonian gnosis. A cursory reading is enough 
to show how little the author could relate of S imon ’ s teaching. Again, very little about 
the career of this character is conveyed to the reader. ‘In general the picture of 
Simon's personality given in the Actus is a remarkably meagre portrayal’ (Sturhahn, 

р. 168). The whole emphasis of this picture rests on the constantly reiterated fact that 
Simon is nothing but a magician, an evil wizard. But here it is expressed in the phrase 
that he is an ‘expositor of Satan ’ (Sturhahn p. 170), the fiyyeXo^xoO 6ia06Xou (Mart. 

с. 3). The APt obviously do not intend to conduct a heresy-hunt; their purpose is to 
demonstrate, in the persons of Simon and his constantly victorious adversary, that 
God is stronger than Satan, whose service Simon has entered. Hence Peter can ascribe 
what is almost redemptive significance to this contest (Act. Verc. c. 6). We are 
dealing, not with the doctrines of S imonian Gnosticism, but with the contest between 
God and the devil. 

Now this picture of Simon in the APt can probably give an important clue to the 
purpose of the work. As already stated (see above, pp. 76ff.), the AGG are not indeed 
a unity, either in theological tendency or in literary intention. But they nevertheless 
belong together, because it is a matter of works intended to entertain, instruct and 
edify, and in part also to have a propagandist effect. They seek to attain these aims 
by collecting manifold popular traditions, shaping (or sometimes taking over) 
speeches with their own tendencies, and so putting together works which do not 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

always possess the form of a literary work of art. This holds for the APt also. This 
work too is governed by the intention of producing an edifying, instructive and at the 
same time entertaining effect. The picture of Simon in the APt makes the difference 
from the anti-heretical literature clear. The doctrine of this arch-heretic is suppressed 
and instead of it anti-christian objections of a general character are attributed to him. 25 
In refuting these objections Peter don indeed make use of scriptural evidence (Act 
Verc. c. 24), but achieves decisive success through his miracles, and through his 
frustrating or out-doing Simon’s miracles, whose reality the author in no way denies. 
The popular character of the APt is also shown in the fact that it is not extensive 
theological discussions that occupy the central place, but miraculous acts: marvels 
of all kinds, resurrections, apparitions, etc. Peter’s speeches in Man. cc. 8-10 
constitute something of an exception, and in their theological content also they take 
upa position of their own (cf. Sturhahn, pp. 153ff.). But here the author may probably 
have modelled himself on an earlier writing of homiletic character. There is nothing 
here which alters our overall estimate of the character of the work; it only makes clear 
that the unity of the APt docs not depend on a formulated theological progra mm e, but on 
its purpose of edification and entertainment together with certain moral inclinations. 

It is certainly difficult, and would overstep the limits of this introduction, to 
attempt to indicate in detail how far the author made use of orally transmitted 
legendary material of various kinds. There are some points at which this combination 
of traditions becomes evident. We need only recall the Martyrdom; but the legend 
of Simon also circulated without doubt in the form of single episodes before attaining 
a fixed form in the APt The miracle-stories in particular, which indeed are for the 
most part typical legends, were not combined with the legends about Simon from the 
outset, but arose and were passed on separately. The author of the APt has collected 
this material and made of it a comparatively well-knit whole, even if the working up 
of the tradition has not always been successful. 

In so doing, was he aiming at a continuation of the canonical Acts, and was his 
work intended as an alternative account? This question is not quite correctly posed. 
Obviously the brief narrative of Acts 8r9ff. gave the impetus for the formation of 
legends centring on the figure of Simon. But it becomes very clear in the APt that 
this narrative given in Acts is completely recast. But above all the theological 
intention, as well as the material which the APt refashions, are different in character 
from those of the canonical Acts. Thus ‘alternative account' and 'continuation' are 
equally unsuitable descriptions: the APt are rather to be described as an attempt to 
supplement the canonical Acts with regard to the personal history of Peter. Here as 
in the other apocryphal Acts it is the interest in individual personalities, about whom 
the canonical Acts tells us little - and in Peter's case this corresponds with his later 
destiny - which has given the impetus to this literature. 

There remains the question whether we can speak of a consistent theological 
orientation. The earlier alternative, gnostic or catholic, has already been character¬ 
ised as questionable (above, pp. 83fT.). The APi certainly are not a gnostic work. One 
cannot however overlook the fact that at several points statement* are made which 
can be interpreted in a gnostic way (esp. Mart. cc. 8-10). On the other hand attempts 
have been made to establish docetic and monarchian* tendencies also. Thus 
Sturhahn writes: ’There results... the... situation that a popular Christian writing. 


The Acts of Peter 

whose non-gnostic character may on other grounds be taken as proved, sees itself 
driven to answer the question, how we should understand the Saviour’s entry into this 
world, in a docetic sense, and in so doing concerns itself with traditions which in 
structure are closely related to the gnostic myth of the Redeemer... while at the same 
time the Kerygma of the Virgin Birth lends the docetic solution the appearance of 
legitimacy’ (op. tit. 182f.). Sturhahn himself has tried to define the place of the APt 
in the history of theology as popular Modalistic Monarchianism. 

Some reservations must be intimated against any such systematising of the 
theological statements of the APt For example, the passages at which one can speak 
of polymorphy are not to be described as docetic.” We must also in this context deal 
very warily with the term 1 Monarchianism’. Above all, it must once again be 
emphasised that the APt are not a theological treatise, but belong to popular literature, 
for which edification and practical effect are of more consequence than theological 
clarity. This naturally does not mean that we could abandon the highlighting of 
individual motifs and the verification of their place in the history of religion and 
theology. But probably we can scarcely present a ‘ theology of the APt’ as a coherent 
systematic scheme” 

The practical aspect of the work certainly includes a certain ’encratite’ tendency. 
This is already visible in Act. Verc. c. 2 in the celebration of the eucharist with bread 
and water. A more important point is the strong emphasis on sexual continence as 
a condition of salvation (cf. Mart. c. 4). This motif plays an important role in the 
Coptic fragment, as in Peter’s later preaching in Rome. We may probably say that 
the circles from which the APt derive were especially interested in precisely this 
point. It is not surprising that many motifs which might be described as ‘gnostic’ or 
‘docetic’ could be combined with this ethic. Here the popular piety of the 2nd and 
3rd centuries finds a voice. In it, as in every age, many elements which the theologians 
tend to keep carefully apart have their place side by side. 

6. Date and place of writing: The APt, originally composed in Greek, were used 
by the author of the Acts of Paul, as indicated above, p. 273. The date of his work 
is fixed by a reference in Tertullian as the end of the 2nd century (cf. p. 233 above). 
We have here an indication for the Acts of Peter, they must have originated before 
c. 190, perhaps in the decade 180-190.** 

The place at which the work came into being cannot be certainly determined. 
Rome or Asia Minor have been suggested. The ‘only inexact knowledge of the place’ 
(PlUmacher, op. tit col. 24) tells against Rome. In favour of Asia Minor we may refer 
to the connection with the API. But for the present we cannot get beyond conjecture 



1. We may refer here only to: A. Rimoldi, 'L'apostolo S. Pietro nella lctteratura apocrifa del 
primi 6 secoli'. La Scuola Cattolica 83, 1933, 196-224 (a short collection of the relevant 
texts); K. Berger, ’Unfchi bare Offenbarung. Petrus in der gnostischen und apokalyptischen 
OfTenbanmgsliteratur', ATon/i/iwrd/ and Einheit (FS MuBner) 1981,261-326; W. A. Bienext, 
above pp. 20f. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

2.1 would very cordially thank G. Poupon for making the proofi of this important essay 
available to me before its publication. 

3. Cf. A. Salvatore, ‘Appunti sulUCronok>giadiConrunodiana',0/p/ieus VH, I960,161-187; 
Commodiano,Carmeapologetico, ed. A. Salvatore (CoronaPatrum),Turin 1977,3-31. 

4. Schmidt relies here mainly on the Coptic fragment, assigning the events it describes to 
Jerusalem. The place of action is not mentioned in the text, but may be inferred. As regards 
the Didascalia, however, we cannot say 'but this derives simply and solely from the Acta of 
Peter' (Schmidt. Petrusakten, 147). 

3. On the question of Macarius' use of Porphyry cf. Quasten, Ill, 486-488; and works there 

6. Cf. C. Schmidt, Studien zu den Ps.-Clemerumen (TU 46/1). 1929. 1-46. 

7. Cf. G. Strecker, Das Judenchristentum in den Pseudoklementinen (TU 70), 1981 2 .233. 

8. Junod/Kaestii, Acta Johannis (CChrSA 2), 694. 

9. Op. cit. 694ff.; to this should be added the other passages in the edition to which reference 
is made in this section. 

10. Cf. Junod/Kaestii 466-493; further literature there. 

11. Cf. Junod/Kaestii. loc. cit; K. Schlferdiek, 'Herkunft und Interesse der alten 
Johannesakten'. ZNW 74. 1983, 247-267. esp. 266f. 

12. Cf. Junod/Kaestii 636-663. 

13. Cf. Sturhahn’s interpretation. 157ff. 

14. For these problems Sturhahn's work is still important, even though one will not 
always agree with his interpretation. Cf. further: E. Junod, 'Polymorphic du Dieu 
sauveur', Gnosucume et monde HelUnistique (Publ. de l’lnstitut Orientalistc de 
Louvain 27). 1982. 38-46. D.R. Cartridge. Semeia 38. 33-66. 

13. Cf. above all C. Schmidt. nPAEEDE riAYAOY. Acta Pauli , 1936. 127ff. 

16. It may be noted that this conflict against the apocrypha in the ancient Church led 
19th-century scholars, especially Lipsius. on the ccnainly false trail of ‘gnostic’ as 
opposed to 'catholic' Acts of apostles. It is above all thanks to C. Schmidt that this false 
antithesis is no longer maintained in the sense it then had. We must however proceed 
cautiously with the term ‘vulgar catholic', which Schmidt uses freely. In particular we 
must probably reckon in most of the AGG with a mixture of diverse elements, which is 
connected with their literary genus. 

17. Cf. below, pp. 436ff. The evaluation of these later texts for the reconstruction of the 
ancient AJ*t is certainly a difficult undertaking, but will yield many an illuminating 
insight; cf. G. Poupon in ANRW. 

18. Cf. C. Schmidt. 'Studien' 1.329PT; F. Bovon, Les Actes de Philippe'. ANRW U. 23.6,1988. 
4431-4527 (I thank Prof. Bovon for giving me access to the proofs before publication). 

19. Cf. the catalogue in James, op. cit. 47ff.; for the APt we may refer also to Vouaux's 
commentary (cf. his index s.v. ‘Actes de Xanthippe’). 

20. On the manuscript from Ochrida: F. Halkin, AnalBoll 80. 1962, 13. 

21. F.W.K. mikr.SoghducheTejctell. AusdemNachlafl. hrsg. von W. Lentz (SPA W 1934.504- 
607). Reprint: SprachwissenscAaftiiche Ergebnisse der deutschen Turfan-Forschung, part 3, 
1985. The 'Simon' fragment on pp. 528-531 (= 334-337); supplement p. 603 (» 409). 

22. A description of the papyrus by J.M. Robinson in NHS XI, 1979, 9-45. 

23. In c. 17 Peter recapitulates this incident. At one point it is clear that the author is 
referring back to an earlier report: Aa I. 64.28 has ad quem Petrus dixit, whereas 
previously Peter always speaks in the first person. 

24. In part of the tradition cc. 30-32 are missing (see above). 

23. E.g. Act Verc. 23: 'Men erf'Rome, is God bom? Is he crucified? He who owns a Lord is 
noGodl’Cf. Sturhahn. 176ff., including further examples from early Christian literature. 

26. So already Schmidt, Petrusakten, 24. 


The Acts of Peter 

27. On polymorphy cf. above, p. 274f. On the problem of Docetism: N. Brox, 
‘“Doketismus” - eine Probtemanzeige’, ZKG 95, 1984, 301-314. 

28. With the AJ and the ATh things are somewhat different; cf. Schiferdiek above, pp. 
164ff. and Drijvers below, pp. 322ff. 

29. If Poupon’i theory outlined above were correct, we should come to an earlier date 
for the composition of the Vorlage of the Act. Verc., and thus for the original APt. 
Investigation is probably also necessary as to which individual pieces are older 
traditional material. 

The Acts of Peter 

I. Fragments of the first section 

a) Peter's Daughter 

(Berlin Coptic Papyrus 8502, pp. 128-132 and 135-141; ed. J. Brashler and 
D.M. Parrott, pp. 478-493) 

(p. 128). But on the first day of the week, which is the Lord’s day, a crowd 
collected, and they brought many sick people to Peter for him to heal them. 1 
But one of the crowd ventured to say to Peter, ‘ Look, Peter, before our eyes you 
have made many (who were) blind to see, and the deaf to hear and the lame to 
walk, and you have helped the weak and given them strength. 2 Why have you 
not helped your virgin daughter, who has grown up beautiful and (p. 129) has 
believed on the name of God? For she is quite paralysed on one side, and she 
lies there stretched out in the comer helpless. We see the people you have 
healed; but your own daughter you have neglected.’ 

But Peter smiled and said to him ‘My son, it is evident to God alone why 
her body is not well. You must know, then, that God is not weak or powerless 
to grant his gift to my daughter. But to convince your soul and increase the faith 
ofthose who are here ‘ -(p. 130) he looked then towards his daughter, and spoke 
to her. ‘Rise up from your place without any man’s help but Jesus’ alone and 
walk naturally before them all and come to me. ’ And she rose up and went to 
him; but the crowd rejoiced at what had happened. 3 Then Peter said to them, 
‘Look, your heart is convinced that God is not powerless in all the things which 
we ask of him. ’ Then they rejoiced even more and praised God. (Then) said (p. 
131) Peter to his daughter, ‘Go to your place, lie down and return to your 
infirmity, for this is profitable for you and for me. ’ And the girl went back, lay 
down in her place and became as she was before. The whole crowd lamented 
and entreated Peter to make her well. 

Peter said to than: 'As the Lord liveth, this is profitable for her and for me. For 
on the day when she was bom to me I saw a vision, and the Lord said to me, “Peter, 
today there is bom for you a great (132) trial; for this (daughter) will do harm tomany 
souls if her body remains healthy.” But I thought that the vision mocked me. 


XV. Second and Third Century Acts of Apostles 

‘When the girl was ten years old she became a temptation to many. And a 
rich man named Ptolemaeus, who had seen the girl with her mother bathing, 
sent for her to take her as his wife; (but) her mother would not agree. He sent 
many times for her, he could not wait.... 

(pp. 133 and 134 are missing). 4 

‘(The servants of) Ptolemaeus brought the girl and laid her down before the 
door of the house and went away. But when I and her mother perceived (it), 
we went down and found the girl, (ami) that all one side of her body from her 
toes to her head was paralysed and wasted; and we carried her away, praising 
the Lord who had preserved his servant from uncleanness and shame and.... 
This is the cause of the matter, why the girl (continues) in this stale until this day. 

‘Now then it is right that you should know the fate of (p. 136) Ptolemaeus. 
He went home and grieved night and day over what had happened to him; and 
because of the many tears which he shed, he became blind; and he resolved to 
go up and hang himself. And lo, about the ninth hour of that day, when he was 
alone in his bedroom, he saw a great light which lit up the whole house, and 
heard a voice which said to him: (p. 137) “Ptolemaeus, God has not given 
the vessels for corruption and shame; nor is it right for you, a believer in 
me, to defile my virgin, one whom you are to know as your sister, 5 since 
1 have become for both of you one spirit. 6 But get up and go quickly to the 
house of the apostle Peter, and you shall behold my glory; he will explain 
this matter to you.' But Ptolemaeus made no delay, and told his servants 
(138) to show him the way and bring him to me. And coming to me he told 
(me) all that had happened to him 7 in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Then he did see with the eyes of his flesh and with the eyes of his soul, and 
many people set their hopes on Christ. He did good to them and gave them 
the gift of God. 

After this Ptolemaeus died; he departed (this) life and went to his Lord. (p. 
139) And when he <made> his will, he bequeathed a piece of land in the name 
of my daughter, because (it was) through her (that) he had believed in God and 
had been made whole. But 1 being given this trust, executed it with care. I sold 
the land, and - God alone knows - neither I nor my daughter kept back any of 
the price of the land, 1 but I gave all the money to the poor. 9 

Know then, O servant of Jesus Christ, that God (p. 140) cares for his own 
and prepares good for every one of them, although we think that God has 
forgotten us. But now, brethren, let us be sorrowful and watch and pray, and 
God’s goodness shall look upon us, and we wait for it.’ And Peter continued 
speaking before them all, and praising the name (p. 141) of the Lord Christ, he 
gave of the bread to them all; (and) when he had distributed it he rose up and 
went to his house. 

The Act of Peter. 


The Acts of Peter 

b) The Gardener's Daughter 

(Ps.-Titus, de Dispositione sanctimonii lines 83ff.; cf. above, p. 57) 

Consider and take note of the happening about which the following account 
informs us: 

A peasant had a girl who was a virgin. She was also his only daughter, and 
therefore he besought Peter to offer a prayer for her. After he had prayed, the 
apostle said to the father that the Lord would bestow upon her what was 
expedient for her soul. Immediately the girl fell down dead. 

O reward worthy and ever pleasing to God, to escape the shamelessness of 
the flesh and to break the pride of the blood! 

But this distrustful old man, failing to recognise the worth of the heavenly 
grace, i.e. the divine blessing, besought Peter again that his only daugher be 
raised from the dead. And some days later, after she had been raised, a man who 
passed himself off as a believer came into the house of the old man to stay with 
him, and seduced the girl, and the two of them never appeared again. 

c) Fragment of a speech of Peter's 

(Cod. Cambrai 254, ed. dc Bniyne, Rev. Benedictine XXV, 1908, p. 153.) 

Peter, speaking to a (man) who bitterly complained at the death of his 
daughter, said ‘So many assaults of the devil, so many struggles with the body, 
so many disasters of the world she has escaped; and you shed tears, as if you 
did not know what you yourself have undergone (i.e. what you have gained).’ 

II. Actus Vercellenses 

(Peter’s dealings with Simon